Remarkable result 1: Turning greens into reds right before harvest
Our red coloration recipe is perhaps the most powerful demonstration of how a dynamic light recipe can improve the business case of a grower. We have tested many pre-harvest treatments on leafy greens by changing the light spectrum and/or light level just days before harvest. Green leaves are typically very efficient at photosynthesis, while red leaves of, for example, a red coloring lettuce, opal basil, red bok choy or mizuna are much less efficient. Outdoors, we have no control over whether these crops grow green or red leaves. But indoors, we can use our dynamic light recipe to first establish a strong canopy of leaves that are green and efficient and then use our red coloration recipe to trigger the development of red pigments right before harvest. This helps growers get higher yields of healthier, more vibrantly colored red crops.1
Remarkable result 2: Reducing nitrate concentrations in leafy greens
In spinach and lettuce, we find that by applying a specific light recipe just days before harvest we can reduce nitrate concentrations. Outdoors or in a greenhouse it is difficult to control the amount of nitrates during certain times of the year. Using a dynamic light recipe at the end of the growth phase allows us to reduce nitrate concentration, thus giving growers control over these nitrate levels. This is especially valuable for several countries where growers face very strict nitrate limits, which are especially hard to meet during certain parts of the year. Here, the proper light recipe can make the difference between a rejected crop and a sellable crop.
Remarkable result 3: Boosting vitamin C in arugula
We nearly doubled the vitamin C content in arugula using a specific pre-harvest treatment to increase vitamin C concentrations in leaves. Values obtained are an order of magnitude more than the value published by USDA for Arugula and bring the vitamin C content of this leafy green in the value range of those most concentrated fruits in vitamins such as kiwi! This proves that it is possible to improve the content of functional ingredients in food in a natural way by simply growing it differently. This allows growers to use dynamic light recipes to meet the growing demand for functional foods from health-conscious consumers.
Remarkable result 4: Extending shelf life
Another important benefit of dynamic light recipes is extending the shelf life of crops. We have certain (pre-) harvest treatments which can increase the shelf life of a crop up to 6 days depending on the crops. This can give a grower a huge advantage in their market, leading to less waste further on in the food chain.