UV CAN DESTROY YOUR PLANTS AS WELL AS PROTECT THEM
The use of UV (Ultra Violet Light) in the indoor garden can be a two edged sword. Its first and probably main use is to act as a killer of pathogenic bacteria and live bugs.
The second use for Ultra Violet Light is as a steriliser for the liquid nutrient. The idea here is to kill any fungus and bacteria that might attack the plantís root system.
Letís look at these functions in slightly greater detail. Firstly as a pathogen and bug killer, UV is a very effective tool. It works in two ways, firstly by producing Ozone (O3) and secondly by irradiating the target with high frequency radiation at 253.7 nm.
As already discussed on our Ozone page, O3 is a powerful oxidant and this attaches to any small particles carrying pathogens and or bad odours, destroying them. The downside is that Ozone also combines with other small particles that we want, like the scent molecules and oils which give our flowers their appeal. Because of this we have to be careful not to over do the dosage within our growing area and not to use Ozone Generators and Ultra Violet sources at all during flowering and especially drying periods. The Ozone will kill bugs, bacteria and fungus, but only slowly.
Direct UV light kills these organisms in both air and water far quicker than Ozone can. The high frequency light itself causes the Oxygen electrons in the molecule (O2) to expand allowing another Oxygen electron to jump in (O2 + O =O3). Because this reaction takes a lot of energy to achieve and the resulting gas is very unstable, after about half an hour the energy build up has decayed to the point where the extra electron can no longer stay attached. It falls off the molecule and looks for something else to attach to, such as a bacterium or a living cell.
If the high frequency photons being emitted by the UV lamp are casing this splitting in the Oxygen molecule, imagine what they are going to do to the sensitive and much weaker plant structures. You will, I am sure, have realised by now that exposure to large amounts of high energy light (over 200 nm) will be very harmful to your carefully nurtured plants. That is right IT WILL KILL THE PLANTS!
Air or water passed through a light proof box with an ultra violet light source inside will be quickly and efficiently cleansed of harmful bacteria and viruses etc. The use of this method of cleaning with nutrient solutions can lead to problems, because the fungus, Pythium needs a much greater exposure in order to kill it. This increased exposure to the radiation, combined with the action of the light on some of the salts, means that the micronutrients of Boron, Manganese and Iron will precipitate out of the solution, leaving the plant deprived of these vital ingredients.
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