Indoor horticulture offers a sensible solution for sustainable food production and is becoming increasingly widespread. However, it incurs high energy and cost due to the use of artificial lighting such as high-pressure sodium lamps, fluorescent light or increasingly, the light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The energy efficiency and light quality of currently available horticultural lighting is suboptimal, and therefore less than ideal for sustainable and cost-effective large-scale plant production. Here, we demonstrate the use of high-powered single-wavelength lasers for indoor horticulture. They are highly energy-efficient and can be remotely guided to the site of plant growth, thus reducing on-site heat accumulation. Furthermore, laser beams can be tailored to match the absorption profiles of different plant species. We have developed a prototype laser growth chamber and demonstrate that plants grown under laser illumination can complete a full growth cycle from seed to seed with phenotypes resembling those of plants grown under LEDs reported previously. Importantly, the plants have lower expression of proteins diagnostic for light and radiation stress. The phenotypical, biochemical and proteome data show that the single-wavelength laser light is suitable for plant growth and therefore, potentially able to unlock the advantages of this next generation lighting technology for highly energy-efficient horticulture.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was fully funded by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). We thank Ivan Gromicho for his help with the illustrations.