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Finding the optimum wavelength of light for the best plant growth

John Cheeseman j-cheeseman at uiuc.edu
Sat Apr 16 16:21:40 EST 1994

Despite the fact that chlorophyll absorbs maximally in the blue and red,
photosynthesis (and thus growth) is almost equally efficient across the
entire visible spectrum from 400 to 700 nm.  Therefore, sunlight is good
stuff, tungsten would be good except for the large heat load if you are
using it in a closed area, and the fact that the heat load represents watts
you are paying for without results.  Fluorescents, halides, mixed halides
and all those give usable light, depending on what your specific plant
requirements are and you budget.  

Varying the levels of UV could do things ranging from nothing (depending on
the species and the amount of UV and its wavelength, to killing the platns
if you hit them hard enough for long enough.  If you are interested in the
possibility that UV will help the plants or augment the growth that results
from visible light, I think you can forget it.

In article <bmm.765614307 at ardu.dsto.gov.au>, bmm at ardu.dsto.gov.au (B.M.
Murrell (Bruce)) wrote:

> Could anyone provide information on the which wavlengths of light provide
> the best growth rate for plants.  I need information for a project I am
> devising and would appreciate any help I could get.  I also need to know
> what the effect of varying levels of UV have on plant growth.
> Thankyou, Bruce Murrell
> bmm at ardu.dsto.gov.au
> --
> SGT B.M. (Bruce) Murrell
> Aircraft Research & Development Unit (ARDU)
> Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
> 61-8-256-3116

John Cheeseman                                 "We haven't the money,
Department of Plant Biology                     so we've got to think."
University of Illinois                          -- Lord Rutherford (1962)
Urbana IL 61801 USA

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