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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 of 12 µmol photons m-2 s-1

Cost comparison spreadsheet
The IPH team has developed a tool that compares red light treatment costs vs. conventional fungicide treatments. Click here to download Excel spreadsheet. Once downloaded, the user may enter alternative values to estimate their own treatment costs.

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 the greenhouse: (L to R) Tim Plummer, M.S., Leora Radetsky, M.S., and Jaimin Patel, Ph.D. Greenhouse use granted by the Sage Colleges, Troy, NY.

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 can be effective for controlling plant diseases but they may pose a greater risk of developing fungicide resistance in plant pathogens.

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) Alliance 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 Alliance 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 Senior 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 become a member of the IPH Alliance, click for brochure or contact:

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

Recent News

New Research Article Published
The value of red light at night for increasing basil yield
Jaimin S. Patel, Leora Radetsky, Mark S. Rea.
Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 2018, 98:1321-30.

USDA Awards Funding for Light and Plant Health Research to the Lighting Research Center
News Release - October 9, 2018
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded funding to the Lighting Research Center to support new research that has the potential to address one of the grand challenges of this century—food security and the ability to sustainably feed a rapidly increasing world population. Learn More.

Seeing disease in a new light
Greenhouse Canada - September 19, 2018
Research scientists Dr. Jaimin Patel and Leora Radetsky are exploring light as a way to mitigate disease. Their research looks at using visible and ultraviolet (UV) light against powdery mildew and downy mildew – two of the most common diseases in the greenhouse.

Controlling basil downy mildew might be as simple as turning on a light
Hort Americas - August 28, 2018
The use of supplemental light to control downy mildew on food and ornamental crops could be integrated into current disease management practices.

LRC Releases New Report on Horticultural Lighting
May 14, 2018
The LRC has published a new report on the energy and economic performance of LED horticultural luminaires. The LRC evaluated key factors such as power demand, life-cycle cost, luminaire intensity distribution, and luminaire shading. The project was funded by the Lighting Energy Alliance and Natural Resources Canada. Members of the Lighting Energy Alliance include Efficiency Vermont, Energize Connecticut, National Grid, and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

LRC Scientists Speaking at Major Events
April 13, 2018
Lighting experts Mariana Figueiro, Jaimin Patel, Leora Radetsky, and Mark Rea presented, "Seeing Red: How Long-wavelength Light can Impact Humans, Plants, and Animals," on May 9 at LIGHTFAIR International 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

On May 15, Dr. Jaimin Patel spoke at the Horticultural Lighting Conference Europe in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

LRC Research Scientist Leora Radetsky will join Dr. Patel at Cultivate '18 in Columbus, Ohio on July 14, where they will present: "Nighttime Application of Light for Control of Plant Diseases" and "How Light and Dark can Control Plant Diseases."

LRC Receives State Grant
On April 6, 2018, NYFVI (New York Farm Viability Institute) awarded a grant to the LRC to investigate the use of UV to suppress pathogens in summer squash.

This project will demonstrate that UV lighting technology can easily and cost-effectively be used by farmers to prevent or reduce powdery mildew, and perhaps other pathogens and pests, in squash and other vegetable crops in New York State (NYS). The project will involve farmers in designing and building the apparatus that will be used to provide the UV lighting. This will help to ensure that the technology is readily available and easy to assemble for farmers. Farmers will also be involved in using the technology in field applications and in evaluating its ease-of-use and effectiveness in preventing or reducing powdery mildew. The project team will also widely disseminate the information developed in the project among farmers and extension personnel across NYS. Regional, hands-on workshops will be held and educational materials produced for farmers and extension agents so that farmers can build the UV lighting device in their own workshops using commercially available components, and use it in their fields. UV lighting is an alternative and effective approach to existing chemical control measures for control of powdery mildew. Learn More.

Light and Plant Health Group Initiates New Web Site
October 24, 2017
A new web site has been created to promote the recently formed Light and Plant Health Group. This international effort includes the Lighting Research Center, Norway's Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), the University of Florida Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (UFL/GCREC), and Cornell University's Geneva Experiment Station (Cornell/Geneva). Their work is generously supported by grants from the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), the Specialty Crops Research Program (SCRI), and The Research Council of Norway (RCN), as well as assistance from lighting companies OSRAM and Ushio, and the Asahi Glass Company.

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 decreased use of 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
News 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
News 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.