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  • Writer's pictureHirokazu Kobayashi

Plants hate blue light but become useful to humans with that light! *

Hirokazu Kobayashi

CEO, Green Insight Japan, Inc.

Professor Emeritus and Visiting Professor, University of Shizuoka

 

The growth of agricultural crops is influenced by environmental factors such as light intensity, temperature, and rainfall. When certain conditions are fulfilled, obtaining high yields of top-quality agricultural products is possible. However, it is difficult to say that producers are necessarily grateful for a bumper harvest because it leads to lower prices. On the other hand, there are also examples of increasing the added value of agricultural products by artificially changing environmental factors. Some examples of plants with unique growing requirements are electric chrysanthemums that bloom by controlling the period of light illumination, tea leaves that are used to make Gyokuro and Matcha and are grown under shade, Wasabi that require clean running water, and stone-wall strawberries in Shizuka City grown out of season. On the interesting side, several papers have been published since 1962 on the effects of music on plants. Healing music encourages plants to grow, and rock seems to do the opposite. I was once asked for my opinion as a scientist on the topic of classical music being played on the lawn of Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture. When a mechanism for a phenomenon is discovered in plant science, it is finally accepted as a fact. Sound is transmitted to the leaves as air vibrations. The mechanism by which plants sense contact with leaves has been elucidated, and it is predicted that a similar mechanism may be involved in the effects of sound.

 

Short wavelength light, typified by ultraviolet light, causes damage to living cells, including humans, such as DNA breaks. To avoid this, when plants are exposed to shorter-wavelength blue light, they accumulate polyphenols that have antioxidant activity. On the other hand, when taken orally by humans, it can prevent and improve lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, hyperuricemia, and cancer. We discovered that when broccoli sprouts were irradiated with blue light, the polyphenol content increased threefold, and they filed three patent applications. We believe that this commercialization will also be one way to contribute to society.




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