Researchers at the University of Tennessee have discovered the positive impacts LED lighting has on herbs and vegetables.
Dean Kopsell, a professor with U.T.’s Plant Sciences Department, said “We found out that they can really dramatically increase plant physiology, increase mineral nutrient levels, and also increase antioxidant levels, which are very important for us in the diet.”
Kopsell said plants only need a small percentage of sunlight rays, but under LED lighting, researchers can intensify the light plants do need, saving them energy. He said while LED lights come in all colors, blue and red are the most important to plant growth.
Kopsell and Dr. Carl Sams studied the impacts on herbs and specialty vegetables, like kale. He said the already healthy crop produced even higher levels of nutrients, like calcium, potassium, iron, and even anti-cancer components.
The LED lights also emit less heat, especially compared to high pressure sodium lamps found in greenhouses, which are usually 1,000 watts each.
Read more about the research here.