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With UV blanket (almost) complete absence of pathogenA product from the world of medical science has found its way into the greenhouse. It kills fungi, viruses and bacteria on the crop. Through a combination of UV light and ionization, these pathogens are drastically reduced. Aquamar has designed a special unit for horticulture, the UV blanket. These units are hung at a minimum of 2.5 meters height. With 5 units per hectare this system has a kill rate of 90/95%. "It is a simple, natural and effective method to reduce the pathogen pressure," says Lub Kramer of Aquamar.
Ionization is the process by which an atom or molecule in uncharged state, loses or gains an electron. The consequence of this is that it changes into a charged particle, called an ion. These ions, as it were, hang like a blanket over the crop. The air becomes very clean. Lub Kramer: "You can compare it with the freshness that you experience when you walk outside after a heavy thunderstorm. At that time, the pathogen pressure outside is minimal. So inside the greenhouse this is not different."
After ionization all particles drop out of the air. Lub: "The additional benefit, in addition to pathogens being killed, is that more light enters the greenhouse. After all, all those particles in the air absorb light." Aquamar now uses a norm of 20 part per billion (ppb) ionizations, well below the legal limit of 120 ppb.
The UV blanket hangs completely vertical in the greenhouse, so that the crop is not affected by the UV (growth) light. Nor is the staff, for that matter. The plates of the device are of parabolic shape; this prevents people from looking directly into the light. The shape of the plates also ensures that the sunlight passes directly and unimpeded. The result is that there is no unwanted shading on the crop. Biological control agents, moreover, are not negatively affected by the effect of the UV blanket.
A matter of time
Lub Kramer likes to talk about the results in the greenhouses that already use this method to kill pathogens. And understandably so, because the results that are achieved by the UV blanket, are good. This system is already being used in the tomato, rose and lily cultivation. Lub: "Our customers are satisfied, so we are too. Although it does not come as a surprise to us. This works. It is still relatively new to horticulture. But it is a matter of time before the UV blanket has become the conventional method."
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Publication date: 4/14/2017
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