Do plants produce fragrance under LEDs?

Dümmen Orange trialled its plants to discover how LEDs can activate fragrance

DE LIER, Netherlands: In the past few months, Dümmen Orange has participated in an indoor farming trial with a selection of its annual products. The trial took place at the test location of the Dutch indoor farming company Seven Steps To Heaven in Eindhoven. Various tests were done, under different circumstances, to discover the effect of indoor farming on our crops in general, and the potential of fragrance in our products and the market in particular.

The Seven Steps To Heaven team has a long history with indoor farming. Their experience, knowledge, techniques and location provided an opportunity for Dümmen Orange to test its crops under different circumstances. The combination of optimal growth conditions for crops, production opportunities close to the market, and a controlled and biological environment is synergistic towards growers as well as consumers. For a breeding company such as Dümmen Orange, it is interesting to research and test these developments to explore how growers can benefit from our available assortment.

The main question of this research was: do plants produce more fragrance under high light conditions rather than under low light conditions? Over a period of 6 weeks trials were executed under different circumstances (normal greenhouse in the Netherlands, low intensity photosynthesis, and high intensity photosynthesis in combination with optimal temperature and evaporation). Several crops were tested, including begonia, lavender and sweet alyssum. The test team assumed that a larger photosynthetic capacity, caused by high intensity LED light, would lead to the formation of more secondary metabolites, which should make the fragrance more intense than under low light conditions.

We discovered that some crops emit a fragrance in the indoor farm but did not when tested in a regular greenhouse. Additionally, we saw that high light intensity results in more fragrance. A grower could enhance his marketing opportunities by applying a photosynthesis boost in a later stage, to increase the fragrance of his crop.

Although the test was preliminary, the effect of light and other trial circumstances will definitely impact the future of growing flowers and plants. Dümmen Orange recognizes the importance of indoor farming for scented flowers and continuously executes in-house product.

Publishing date: 27th February 2019.

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