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Basil plants with and without red light treatment
Downy mildew on basil plants under dark and red light conditions. Basil plants were maintained under dark conditions (left) and red light (625 nm wavelength) (right) in the same greenhouse from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The study was conducted by Dr. Jaimin Patel at University of Florida.

Basil leaves

Sporangia graph
Sporangia of Peronospora belbahrii on the underside of basil leaves in the presence or absence of red light at an average irradiance level of 12 µmol photons/

Foliar severity graph
UV treatments were significantly more effective than alternated sprays of Quintec and Torino for control of strawberry powdery mildew. The experiment was conducted by collaborative efforts from the Lighting Research Center/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cornell University and University of Florida.

The IPH Group at LRC: (L to R) Tim Plummer, M.S., Leora Radetsky, M.S., and Jaimin Patel, Ph.D.

Agricultural production, particularly of vegetable and ornamental crops, has been increasingly shifting from the field to controlled environments, including greenhouses, high tunnel facilities, and indoor vertical farms. However, controlled environments present substantial challenges for disease management. Chemicals are effective for controlling plant diseases but they pose a greater risk of developing fungicide resistance in plant pathogens and may also increase the risk of health issues for both consumers and fungicide applicators.

Advanced light-emitting diode (LED) technology can provide lighting conditions that are detrimental to plant pathogens and at the same time, ideal for healthy plant growth. An expanding list of spectrally tuned LEDs is available to modify controlled environments to be less favorable to plant pathogens and more favorable to crop growth, which enables growers to extract greater value from their crops by producing healthier, more robust plants.

The Illumination for Plant Health (IPH) program at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute works closely with industry, government, commercial growers, NGOs and other interested stakeholders to advance innovative strategies for plant disease control. The goal of the IPH program is to develop sustainable disease management solutions using the latest lighting technologies, apply research results in practice for a greater understanding of their applicability, and educate stakeholders on the use of lighting technologies to control plant diseases.

The IPH program is led by Dr. Jaimin Patel, plant pathology research scientist at the LRC. He is well respected in his field for developing innovative control strategies for diseases, especially those affecting vegetable and ornamental crops. Dr. Patel is the author of more than 40 scientific articles and serves as the Associate Editor of Plant Health Progress, a peer-reviewed journal of applied plant health. Prior to joining the LRC, he conducted numerous research experiments on various crops and plant pathogens at the University of Florida. His professional research career has provided advanced knowledge for the management of plant diseases through his many publications, presentations, and outreach activities for growers, consumers, and other stakeholders.

To discuss membership in IPH, please contact:

Dr. Jaimin Patel
Research Scientist
Lighting Research Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Phone: 518-687-7100

In the News

LED has potential to end use of pesticides in farming
LUX Review - April 25, 2017
LED light is able to reduce disease in plants, a discovery that could, ultimately, lead to the redundancy of expensive and unpopular pesticides. Interview with LRC scientist Dr. Jaimin Patel.

Advanced LED lighting for plant health and protection in controlled environment agriculture
Urban Ag News - September 10, 2016
In the future, growers will have the opportunity to use LEDs not just for extending the period of natural daylight but also for providing lighting tailored specifically to suppress growth of plant pathogens and to extract greater value from their crops by producing healthier, more robust plants.

Plant Pathologist Jaimin Patel Joins the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer
LRC press release - August 16, 2016
Further strengthening the LRC's horicultural lighting and plant pathology program, Dr. Patel will collaborate on a project to study the novel use of light to suppress plant pathogens affecting organically grown crop production.

LD+A Magazine - June 2016
From designer plants to genetic engineering, LEDs show infinite possibilities in agricultural applications.

USDA-NIFA Awards $1.7 Million for Light and Plants Research
LRC press release - October 6, 2015
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) award $1.7 million to study the novel use of light to suppress a broad group of plant pathogens affecting sustainable production of organically grown crops.

A collection of research articles authored by LRC scientist Dr. Jaimin Patel.