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Broad-spectrum LEDs show greatest cannabis yield, quality: study

January 27, 2021
By Greenhouse Canada

Photo courtesy of Fluence

Recent trials in LED lighting solutions for commercial cannabis have shown promising results using broad-spectrum LEDs.

Fluence by OSRAM released results from its latest research trial analyzing how various supplemental and sole-source light spectra impact cannabis plant yield, consistency and quality.

“Cannabis bud quality, yield and consistency were remarkably strong when grown under Fluence’s PhysioSpec Spectrum BROAD R4 (white) light,” said David Hawley, Ph.D., Fluence’s senior scientist. “Unlike other commercial crops, greenhouse cultivators can grow cannabis with far greater intensities of supplemental light due to the plant’s photosynthetic capacity. To optimize yield, growers should consider light intensities that are dramatically higher than industry norms while paying close attention to spectral quality. Our high-intensity indoor trials affirmed that cannabis growers — whether indoor or in greenhouses — who apply BROAD R4 will maximize yield and secondary metabolite production.”


Fluence conducted its trials in collaboration with Wageningen University and Research (WUR) in the Netherlands and Austin-based Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation (TOCC) throughout 2019 and 2020.

The WUR study evaluated supplemental lighting’s effect on cannabis bud quality and yield in greenhouse production by applying four light spectra at photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 480 µmol·m-2·s-1 to three cannabis cultivars. Fluence also conducted indoor trials with TOCC examining sole-source lighting’s influence on cannabis flower development. The TOCC trial evaluated three cannabis cultivars under three light spectra at high PPFD. Both studies executed widely accepted scientific experimental design methodology and replication, ensuring Fluence’s results are conclusive and reliable.

WUR’s greenhouse study showed that while lower supplemental light intensity spectra do not significantly influence cannabis yield, spectrum does still considerably alter cannabinoid and terpene concentrations. In some cultivars, increased red light significantly reduced cannabinoid and monoterpene content while concurrently increasing sesquiterpene content.

Insights from the indoor trials at TOCC uncovered that Fluence’s BROAD R4 yielded on average 20 percent more flower biomass than the BROAD R6 spectrum, 9 percent more floral bud than the BROAD R8 spectrum, and up to 31 percent greater floral biomass with R4 than with R6 in some cultivars. While cannabinoid and terpene concentrations remained consistent at these higher yields, the study also showed that higher-red light spectra can lead to photobleaching, which can inhibit growth.

“Investing in exploring the science behind Fluence’s solutions is crucial to staying educated, informed and ahead of important innovations in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry,” said David Cohen, CEO of Fluence. “We are dedicated to partnering with leading institutions and ground-breaking operators such as Wageningen University and Research and Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation on impactful, industry-driving research. These studies enable us to provide comprehensive LED solutions backed by data-driven research to cannabis growers around the world.”

Source: Fluence Bioengineering