Building and cultivating relationships with research and education centers is crucial to our technology’s development process. Our relationship with the Institute of Agriculture and Food Technology (known as ITA in French), in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, is an excellent example.
Agronomist and horticulture Professor Caroline Vouligny teaches her students greenhouse production techniques. She was looking for a versatile lighting solution to meet her research and teaching needs, which require a precise and programmable spectrum and an easy to use interface. After exploring different solutions on the market, she heard about Sollum Technologies’ smart lighting solution and decided it fit her criteria.
When we asked Professor Vouligny whether she was satisfied with our technology, she told us she was really excited about the possibilities it afforded her. As an example, she explained that one of her students had noticed that there was unused space beneath tomato production systems that could be used for strawberry production and decided to set up a project investigating the feasibility of doing so.
Because of how compact and easy to install our solution is, they were able to set up a study! She shared with us that, “we were happy with the ease of installation in the first place, because in such a confined space we needed a fixture that was easily positioned. Afterward, we noticed that the spectral quality of the light optimized the strawberries’ vegetative development. The strawberries’ development across three different light treatments was consistent and root development took hold under all three spectra. The roots quickly colonized the entire substrate of the vats.”
Their initial findings suggest which light recipes are most suitable to strawberry production: “Taste-wise, the lucky few who were able to taste the strawberries from the second trial preferred those cultivated with the 3500K treatment. The strawberries cultivated under the 7500K treatment came in second. The 3500K treatment strawberries were sweeter and better than those grown in greenhouse F without artificial lighting.”
Professor Vouligny observes that our programmable smart lighting solution that dynamically recreates and modulates the full spectrum of the Sun’s natural light provides significant value added for research applications. Beyond the substantial productivity and produce quality benefits, the ability to use the same light fixtures to create an infinite number of light recipes through a user-friendly application facilitates experimentation and a broader range of study designs.
As soon as Professor Vouligny gets the green light to resume her work post COVID-19, she intends to use Sollum’s smart lighting solution to repeat the strawberry study and deploy it in other studies made possible by our technology. We’re confident her and her students’ work will help us discover new use cases and applications for our solution and provide insights into how we can improve our technology.