Study examines LED benefits for strawberries

Dutch researchers are investigating whether growing strawberries under LEDs can increase levels of antioxidants and improve flavour.

In a glasshouse at the newly opened Innovation & Demonstration Centre in Bleiswijk, Wageningen University researchers are growing four varieties - Elsanta, Sonata, Darselect and Honeoye - using a range of lighting formats tailored to each, with some rows lit only from above and others via booms between rows.

Researcher Jan Janse said: "Here we show growers, suppliers and breeders how fruit composition and taste can be influenced by LEDs."

Berries are analysed for sugar and acid content, juiciness, firmness and antioxidant content. They are also tasted by an expert panel.

Janse added that strawberry growers would consider switching to growing under LEDs "if it is worth the investment". He added: "The lamps are energy-efficient but still relatively expensive."

Last year, Wageningen University researchers showed a doubling of vitamin C levels in tomatoes grown under LEDs.

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