LED lighting for maximizing quality parameters in specialty crop production-Phase II

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Orbital Technologies Corp.(orbitec)
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53717
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Convincing scientific evidence provides the association between dietary choices and chronic disease expression. Dietary guidelines now in place are designed to prevent the onset of such chronic diseases as tissue-specific cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoporosis. The cornerstone of recommended dietary guidelines is increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. Current USDA dietary guidelines recommend eating 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. However, average adult consumption in the United States is only 4.4 servings per day, with an estimated 42% of Americans eating & lt; 2 daily servings for fruits and vegetables. Consumption of vegetables provides the human diet with many essential vitamins and minerals important for health maintenance. Vegetables also contain secondary metabolite phytochemicals, which provide benefits beyond normal health maintenance and nutrition and play active roles in chronic disease reductions. If these beneficial compounds could be significantly increased in fresh fruits and vegetables through environmental manipulation, these "functional foods" could have a significant benefit to human health and well being. The objectives of the plant-based research projects will be to use the unique characteristics of LEDs to investigate the impact of various lighting parameters on the concentrations of: (1) nutritionally important carotenoid pigments; (2) organoleptic quality factors including glucosinolates; (3) mineral nutrient concentrations important in human nutrition; and (4) antioxidant compounds; in brassica and other leafy specialty crops, herbs, and tomatoes. These crops are high value, commercially important, and will serve as model systems to refine our hypotheses on the impacts of the use of LED systems as supplemental light in commercial protected culture systems. Results from Phase 1 established that specific wavelength LEDs have a positive impact on several plant metabolites (carotenoids, glucosinolates, minerals such as Ca) of importance in human nutrition. The information from these tests would likely apply to many other specialty food crops grown in greenhouses and other protected environments.