Swedish innovation agency Vinnova has awarded Heliospectra AB a research grant worth 458,000 SEK (about $54,000) to test LEDs for stimulating aroma and nutrients in plants. The goal of the research is to increase product quality for growers and consumers. Partners will include the Technical Research Institute of Sweden (SP), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Chalmers University. "Previous studies have shown that the light quality is very important for the plants' inner qualities, and we have great hopes to use light to produce the quality we desire in greenhouse-grown herbs," said Karl-Johan Bergstrand, a researcher at SLU. The project is a continuation of an earlier feasibility study that examined lighting's importance to the aroma of herbs, wherein basil was grown under carefully controlled conditions under four different lighting regimes, one based on high-pressure sodium lights and three based on LEDs. Mature plants were harvested and analyzed with respect to a number of quality factors such as growth, the presence of volatile compounds and sensory properties. The study was conducted with financial support from Partnership Horticulture, a national collaboration between academia and the horticultural industry. "The results of the preliminary study clearly shows that the nature of light can affect plant development and lay a good foundation for further research on the topic," said Tim Nielsen, a project manager with SP. "We want to learn more about how light of different wavelengths affects the aroma production in the plant. The goal is to be able to control and optimize product quality with the aid of light." Heliospectra develops intelligent lighting technology for plant research and greenhouse cultivation. Its systems combine various LEDs with optics, remote sensing techniques and heat-dissipation technology to enable control of the intensity and wavelengths of the light emitted, creating a spectrum specifically adjusted to different plant species and growth stages to better facilitate photosynthesis.