The issue is examined jointly by Ferdinand-Braun-Institute and Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops within the “Advanced UV for Life” consortium granted by the BMBF program “Zwanzig20 – Partnership for Innovation” (www.advanced-uv.de). Up to now, conventional low-pressure mercury gas-discharge fluorescent lamps have been used as UV-B radiation sources. These lamps deliver only a broadband UV-B radiation making it impossible to determine the wavelength-dependent action spectra of secondary plant metabolites. However, UV-B LEDs recently developed at Ferdinand-Braun-Institute feature a narrow emission spectrum (half width < 10 nm) and a peak emission wavelength that can be tailored to ideally trigger specifically health-promoting secondary plant metabolites.
First experiments have been accomplished with an UV-B LED-based module with an emission at 310 nm. An adjustable uniform irradiance of up to 0.1 W m–2 was obtained at a working distance of 30 cm. That way, the formation of secondary metabolites in Arabidopsis leaves and broccoli sprouts could be successfully enhanced.
Moreover, the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops is within this consortium the coordinator of the research area “Environment & Life Science”.