With support from the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, the LRC is developing a new course curriculum on lighting for plant growth and health. The program is a result of an increase in indoor plant growth as a response to a growing interest in local and sustainable food. Lighting professionals are being increasingly called upon to design and develop lighting systems and applications for these indoor agricultural environments.
This emerging sector includes new challenges for lighting professionals. For instance, research from the Illumination for Plant Health (IPH) Alliance at the LRC has shown that precision light dosing can be used to increase plant health and to combat the pests and pathogens that reduce crop yields. Additional skills and knowledge of such topics will be needed by many lighting professionals hoping to immerse themselves in this emerging market.
The course development team at LRC includes Professor Mark Rea, plant pathologist Jaimin Patel, research scientist Leora Radetsky, and Director of Education Dan Frering. Collaborators include Erik Runkle, a professor of horticulture at Michigan State University, and plant pathologists David Gadoury at Cornell University and Natalia Peres at the University of Florida, who are widely known for their expertise in using UV light to mitigate pathogens in fruit and vegetable crops.