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Industry discusses future of horticultural lighting in Chicago

At the recent inaugural Horticultural Lighting Conference, LumiGrow's Head of R&D, Dr. Melanie Yelton spoke on the future of horticultural LED lighting.

The conference at the historic Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago brought together the horticultural lighting industry’s most prolific thought leaders to discuss the societal impacts of energy-efficient, horticultural LED lighting.

Melanie Yelton visiting greenhouse farmer Ben Sklarczyk, who uses LEDs to grow hydroponic seed potatoes in Michigan.

Dr. Melanie Yelton, former Director of Sequencing at the Stanford DNA Sequence and Technology Center, presented her team’s work studying light spectrum to control plant quality, morphology and flowering. “Early on I took notice of the exciting possibilities of spectral science and what it had to offer the world. Since then, my team and I have worked in partnership with universities and commercial growers using light to influence plant characteristics, flavor, nutrition, and to fight plant diseases”.

Offering her team’s newest research developments, Dr. Yelton presented a roadmap to the future where “smart lighting” will integrate with precision greenhouses for optimized crop uniformity and production. Melanie says, “We already understand many of the ways in which red and blue light can be used to drive specific characteristics across a myriad of applications. In this way, the future of LED lighting technology is already upon us. The next step will be to take note of the technological advances being made in precision agriculture and begin applying them to the greenhouse for ultra-precise growth models.”

Dr. Yelton and her team work closely with engineers and developers at LumiGrow to improve their lighting control platform and contribute to the larger body of spectral science research. “I feel like we’re all in this together.” expresses Melanie. “The possibilities are exciting. Even though some still consider this field of science new, there have been many of us working together for some time, and this conference is really testimony to the developments we’ve made.”

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