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Press Releases and News

Below are links to selected news articles and other media coverage of Light and Plant Health group projects and scientists.

In The Field Magazine - December 2018

UV Light to Suppress Plant Diseases

The Light and Plant Health Group is featured in this magazine article on their tractor-drawn UV-C array for nighttime application of light to suppress plant pathogens in agricultural crops.

Growing Produce - November 2018

USDA Invests $4.7 Million to Address Critical Plant Pest Problems

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently awarded 16 applied research and development grants to enhance the development, adoption, and implementation of innovative, ecologically-based, sustainable integrated pest management technologies.

News Release - October 9, 2018

USDA Awards Funding for Light and Plant Health Research to the LRC

The 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.

Greenhouse Canada - September 19, 2018

Seeing disease in a new light

Research scientists Dr. Jaimin Patel and Leora Radetsky are exploring light as a way to mitigate disease. Working out of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 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.

Hort Americas - August 28, 2018

Controlling basil downy mildew might be as simple as turning on a light

Researchers at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cornell University, University of Florida, Norway's Institute of Bioeconomy Research and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences are studying the impact different light wavelengths, light amount, light durations and light application timing can have on the development of the pathogens that cause downy mildew and powdery mildew.

News Release - September 18, 2017

LRC collaborating with Cornell on $6.5M grant to develop next generation of grapes

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer is partnering with Cornell University on a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The LRC will work to create an automated phenotyping system, incorporating novel lighting and image processing, to quantify the amount of plant pathogens found on grapes, and for analyzing resistance to these pathogens in new grape varieties.

LUX Review - April 25, 2017

LED has potential to end use of pesticides in farming 

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.

Urban Ag News - September 10, 2016

Advanced LED lighting for plant health and protection in controlled environment agriculture 

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.

LD+A Magazine - June 2016


From designer plants to genetic engineering, LEDs show infinite possibilities in agricultural applications.

News Release - October 6, 2015

USDA-NIFA Awards $1.7 Million for Light and Plants Research

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.