Let There Be Light! The Relationship between Plant Growth and Lighting Conditions

Jordan Cash, Blake Bulard, Jackson Ball, Michael Cobbs


Plants depend on light in order to perform photosynthesis, which is the process by which plants make food. The specific chemical equation is 6CO₂ + 6H2O + Energy --> C6H12O6 + 6O₂, with the energy referring to the photons of light being absorbed by the plants, specifically by the different pigments in the plant leaves. Plants have different pigments, and we know this, because different plants have different colored leaves, so our question is, “Why do plants grow better under certain lighting conditions than others?” This research question has not been adequately addressed so far, because no other researcher has attempted to show the correlation between pigments and absorption spectra and plant growth rate. We attacked the research question by testing the individual plants in order to find the absorption spectra for the individual plant. We then compared these results to the results obtained by testing the oxygen production rate of the individual plants under different wavelengths of light. This shows us the cause of the difference in growth rates of plants under different wavelengths of light. With this research, we can better understand what the best lighting conditions for plants to grow in are.

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