Not only are LEDs changing the way plants are grown, but they could benefit potato storage and processing according a German manufacturer.
Traditional white light, which contains the red and blue components, can promote growth and as a result, leads to the formation of both chlorophyll and solanine in harvested potato tubers. Not only is this unsightly, but solanine is a toxic alkaloid. As a result, not only are potatoes stored in the dark, but exposure to light is usually minimised to reduce these ‘greening’ effects.
However, Germany’s CONPOWER points out that as LEDs allow for different spectra to be filtered out, it is not possible to produce lights which do not contain the red or blue components and so do not lead to the greening of tubers. “We brought a pallet of potatoes into our cold room and put them under the LED spotlight for about eight days, 24 hours a day,” explained Stefan Michels from Kartoffel Kuhn. “After this, we examined the potatoes and found that no greening (chlorophyll / solanine build-up) was found on the test potatoes.”
However, there could still be an issue with ‘greening’, as with the removal of the red and blue wavelengths; the resulting light produced by the LEDs appears green.
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