The colour purple – a new way to grow plants

  • Scientists at PlantLab in the Netherlands have taken advantage of the simple fact that the main type of chlorophyll in plants only requires purple light to function.
  • Conventional greenhouses use white light to grow crops meaning that red green and yellow energy is ‘wasted’ on the plants.
  • Using red and blue LEDs to make purple light, researchers have drastically reduced the energy requirements for growing crops indoors.
  • The special lights have been shown to boost the efficiency of photosynthesis from 9% to between 12 and 15%.

This development could have substantial implications for reducing energy use in commercial greenhouses and make smaller urban agriculture projects more commercially viable.

For more information, visit:

About Julia Chatterton

Systems modeller with a particular expertise in food, farming and agricultural systems. Working with life cycle assessment methods for over 4 years to assess and analyse the environmental burdens associated with food and other production systems.
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