Dutch greenhouse studying effects of variable spectra on peppers

Jan. 24, 2024
Partnering with Canada’s Sollum, the Delphy Improvement Center will also mix and match different irrigation systems to find the optimal combination of light and water.

An ongoing Dutch study into the possible benefits of LED lighting on pepper cultivation is taking on a new dimension, as it will now also examine the effects of actively varying the spectra and intensity in conjunction with different irrigation strategies.

Delphy Improvement Center in Bleiswijk, The Netherlands has tapped a “dynamic” lighting system from Canada’s Sollum Technologies, citing Sollum’s “capabilities in zoning, spectral adjustments and automatic dimming.”

Sollum is known for its combination of lighting and controls that allow users to dial up varying light recipes in order to optimize the growth of different crops. The Montreal-based company provides the lighting schemes on a service basis, which it calls SUN as a Service (SUNaaS), such as at Canadian pepper, eggplant, cucumber, and tomato farm Proplant Propagation late last year.

Delphy is specifically examining the variable lighting on greenhouse peppers raised using different irrigation systems, as it seeks the optimal combination of lighting and watering styles.

"As we delve deeper into the realm of greenhouse LED lighting research, and especially the potential of growing pepper with LED lighting, the collaboration with Sollum provides new opportunities to develop our knowledge,” said Delphy Improvement Center manager Lisanne Helmus-Schuddebeurs. “Their dynamic lighting solution offers an adaptability that can improve the efficiency of lighted pepper cultivation. This collaboration will focus on understanding the interplay between dynamic lighting and irrigation strategies, aiming to provide clear and actionable insights for growers.”

In announcing the collaboration, Sollum emphasized the irrigation aspect.

"Among the first questions we get from growers transitioning to dynamic LED lighting is how they should manage irrigation, especially as they play with the spectrum, dimming, etc.,” said Sollum chief horticultural specialist Sam Soltaninejad. “We're excited to work with Delphy Improvement Centre on clarifying this point for greenhouse growers in the coming months.”

The study will include far red as part of the varying spectra, examining its effect on productivity and morphology. As LEDs Magazine reported recently, far red can possibly trick plants like peppers and others into thinking they’re in shade, and thus induce stretching toward lit areas.

Delphy Improvement Center is a familiar partner to the lighting industry, having worked with Signify at least twice and with Signify’s Fluence division, among others.

The center is part of the larger Delphy company, which provides horticultural consulting, management, and training services. The parent firm is based in Wageningen, The Netherlands.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.