Basil has been cultivated for centuries and is one of the most popular culinary herbs all over the world. The fresh flavor it offers cannot be matched by any other herb or spice, making this delicate plant an excellent choice to grow indoors. Unfortunately, basil leaves will turn black when they are damaged, which can easily happen when basil is exposed to low temperatures during transport or storage. Due to the delicate nature of the crop, basil is not only one of the most expensive herbs for the consumer, but also one of the most perishable. If blue LED lighting can help strengthen the crop’s metabolic profile, it would increase its value to the retailer, end-consumer, and grower as well.
Studies have shown that the use of blue light in vertical farming can have a strong influence on a variety of crops, increasing their flavor profile and overall quality. But when it comes to the application of blue light, there is no one size fits all approach. Together with Wageningen University, we wanted to see if basil would have a positive reaction to an increased level of blue light as showcased by previous research conducted on lettuce. But we were surprised to find that basil’s performance under increased blue LED lighting did not resemble the previously researched performance of leafy greens and fruits.