Why plants love UV

Why plants love UV

Jeroen Dercksen


March 2023

Why plants love UV and why you should use the DLI UV fixture

I want to start by apologizing for this blog sounding like a sales pitch, it’s not generally in my nature to write in this style, but this revolutionary product can only be approached in this way. The way we see it, it’s the next revolution that will be remembered as a paradigm shift a decade from now. After we launched the product and received the first feedback and results, our excitement became even more significant. Satisfying our customers makes us truly happy, and transforming the industry is who we are and always have been.

Plants have evolved to the solar spectrum for millions of years, so it should not come as a surprise that plants respond to the various types of wavelengths found in their natural environment. As we take plants indoors, we are in total control and need to provide plants with everything they need.

Most lights commonly used to grow plants only produce wavelengths within the visible light spectrum and infrared. With decades of experience growing plants indoors with these systems, it seems UV is not required for plant growth, but is there a benefit?

As UV photons are more energetic than visible light, they have different effects and can even produce damage. Out of the three types of UV, the most dangerous and particle-for-particle most energetic, UV-C is filtered out entirely by the atmosphere, so plants and other organisms have not evolved to cope with them. UV-B is only present in lower amounts, but UV-A is plentiful when the sun is out in full force.

We know from experience that plants respond to UV, and we’ve discovered specific photoreceptors that react to UV wavelengths. They significantly influence how plants grow
and metabolize. It’s well known by now that UV can increase and or change the makeup of terpenes and other metabolites, but many other benefits of UV are less clear on first inspection. There is, for instance, a clear health benefit to plants as leaf thickness can increase from UV exposure, lowering susceptibility to pests.

The DLI UV fixture is the only UV source for plant cultivation. It has a broad UV spectrum with all the wavelengths from UV-C (a microscopic amount) to UV-A and a little PAR light. Because of this broad spectrum, it works excellently with all the photoreceptors and has a good ratio of UV-A to UV-B. This ratio balances the beneficial and potentially harmful effects.

The high intensity of the light source lowers the duration of the light period required. This is beneficial when minimizing pests and molds, as they are more susceptible to higher intensity UV over a short span than spread out low concentrations. Similar to the sun, where UV is most potent at noon, the DLI UV fixture is recommended to be used for 2-4 hours daily for a safe experience. Still, variation and experimentation are, of course, possible.

Due to the energetic nature of the UV photon, it can break chemical bonds. This is another function of UV; the breakdown of certain compounds (for instance, some pesticide residues) is an additional benefit.

The DLI UV fixture is only 150watts and covers the area of 4x1000W HPS or equivalent LED fixtures, as it’s only required to be used for 2-4 hours a day to see positive effects; the addition of 150W of UV to 4000W of HPS light is equivalent to only 25-50W over the 12 hours. The amount of power consumed is minute compared to the effects. The secondary metabolites we look for increase significantly, and terpene profiles resemble what is typically only found in product grown under the sun but now also include the other quality aspects gained from the control that is only possible cultivating indoors.

Written by: Jeroen Dercksen Sales Manager Indoor Cultivation.
I’ve always been interested in Controlled Environment Agriculture and have been involved in the industry for over 15 years. If I don’t understand something, I must find out. But I also like to share knowledge. Together we can improve and revolutionize the world to make it future-proof.”

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