Sunflower was conceived in order to reproduce the exact spectrum of sunlight, covering from UV to IR wavelengths. Inside a growing chamber, sunflower plants are observed interactively with their natural bioagressors. Once completed thanks to the project, the researchers will improve the cultivation of phenotypes and bioagressors that will improve the cultivation of sunflower plants even outdoors. Thanks to the LED technology made available by Seoul Semiconductor, today it is already possible to cover the light spectrum from UV to IR with great accuracy and reproduce the sunlight in different points of the planet and different time periods (alternating the seasons winter, summer and hours of the day between morning and evening).
The research team looks at what happens to plants and study everything related to their growing environment. The research is conducted thanks to the setting up of two different rooms to perform comparison tests. Each room is equipped with 3.6 meters long LED bars that generate a 400 PPFD at 60 cm with high homogeneity on the plants being studied. The LED bars developed by GHK (Green House Keeper) are easily mounted thanks to one with a clip for a fast electrical connection, a positive factor that makes life easier for installers and the maintenance team called to intervene in case something happens. The driver system is installed outside the growing rooms, in this way the generated heat has no impact on the growing area and no longer requires energy from the HVAC system and also minimizes the maintenance time and it is easy to find and replace in case some drivers need it.
The lighting system is controlled with the HerbroCore system developed by GHK. An automatic system that allows researchers to control the timing, simulate atmospheric changes or even changes in light from the early morning to the late evening. All with different intensities and different variables to be controlled in the light spectrum. The system is built so that the two chambers can be controlled independently. This allows researchers to compare the results in real time with different simulations or days of the solar spectrum. Finally, GHK’s HerbroCore system uploads data to a private and secure cloud to track and share in real time what is happening from anywhere in the world.
Since 2018, researchers have been working with Seoul Semiconductor’s SunLike technology to validate efficacy when using bioagressors for vertical farming and scientific research programs. A protocol was defined in 2020 and today several research facilities in France are starting to apply it. These include several well-known research centers such as CNRS, INRAE, IRSTEA and ISARA. Thanks to the use of Seoul Semiconductor’s SunLike technology compared to fluorescent and white LEDs, in horticulture and especially in the cultivation of sunflower plants, it was possible to verify a faster growth rate estimated in several days for cultivation, but above all a greater compatibility with biotic and abiotic factors that have been tested for Mildiou (Plasmopara halstedii) and Orobanche cumana.