UVC light and disinfection in marijuana cultivation

If you are a regular reader of our Growing Guide, you will know that a few weeks ago we published an article on the use of ultraviolet or UV lights in cannabis cultivation, in which we detailed which types of UV lights are the most used in this area and which are the main characteristics of each of the types of UV light, which are UV-A, UV-B and UV-C.

Well, today we want to delve deeper into one of these three types of ultraviolet light, UV-C, and tell you about one of its most interesting applications in cultivation and also, as you will see, in post-harvest; the disinfection or elimination of microorganisms harmful to plants such as fungi, bacteria and even some viruses. As you will see, it is a remedy that, used well, is as effective as it is easy to use, in addition to providing other benefits to your plants.

UV-C lamps are often used for disinfection of air, but also water
UV-C lamps are often used for disinfection of air, but also water

UV-C light, main characteristics

Ultraviolet light type C (UV-C) is presented as a truly promising element in the field of plant cultivation, displaying unique properties that can significantly influence plant development and the control of pests and diseases. Below we detail some of the main characteristics of UV-C light and its specific application in plant cultivation:

  • Wavelength: UV-C light is in the shortest part of the electromagnetic spectrum, with wavelengths between 100 and 280 nanometers. This characteristic distinguishes it from the other forms of ultraviolet light (A and B), giving it unique properties. This is a type of light invisible to the human eye.
  • Germicidal action: This type of light is known for its germicidal capacity, being effective in deactivating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This action can contribute to the reduction of pathogens both in the growing environment and in already infected plants or seeds, promoting healthier plants.
  • Effect on photosynthesis: Although photosynthesis is not as efficient in the UV-C range, it has been observed that small doses can positively influence certain physiological processes in plants, such as the production of phytoalexins, compounds responsible for resistance. to pathogens.
  • Control of fungi and pathogens: The ability of UV-C light to inhibit the growth of fungi and pathogens can be very beneficial in hydroponic growing systems and in closed environments such as indoor crops, reducing the need for fungicides and pesticides while improving general plant health.
  • Development of secondary metabolites: It has been suggested that controlled exposure to UV-C light can induce the production of secondary metabolites in plants such as flavonoids, including compounds with antioxidant and health-beneficial properties.
  • Implementation in greenhouses and indoor crops: UV-C light can be integrated into lighting systems in greenhouses, indoor crops, and controlled environments to provide benefits both in the quality of the crops and the biosecurity of their environment.
  • Safety Considerations: Given the germicidal nature of UV-C light, it is essential to implement safety measures to avoid direct exposure to this light, for both plants and humans. It is therefore advisable to take the necessary safety measures to work with this type of light without risk to the crop or the grower. You can consult the main measures to take at the end of this article.

As you have seen, UV-C light presents itself as a truly versatile tool in the grower's arsenal, with the potential to positively influence plant health and crop quality when applied in a careful and controlled manner. But let's focus now on today's topic, the use of this type of light for disinfection and elimination of organisms that can pose a serious threat to your plants.

UV light and cannabis

The use of ultraviolet light in cannabis cultivation is increasingly common, especially in large commercial facilities. Today we tell you what uses UV light can be used for, what differentiates the different types of ultraviolet light and what precautions should be taken when using it. You will see that it can be much more useful than it seems!

UV-C light for disinfection in cannabis crops

In the field of professional cannabis cultivation, especially among companies more focused on the use of the best technologies, the use of UV-C lamps to support the luminaires used for plant development is common. But, as you will discover, they can not only be useful in the growing space itself, but they also have a series of applications outside of growing that can also be very useful. From increased production of trichomes and flavonoids to disinfection of leaves, flowers, or even seeds, UV-C light presents a series of clear advantages to achieve products of the best possible quality. Let's look at some of them:

  • Reduction of pathogenic fungi: Without a doubt, this is one of the star applications of this type of light, and UV-C light exhibits a powerful fungicidal action by deactivating spores and cellular structures of pathogenic fungi. Controlled exposure helps prevent and control fungal diseases, reducing dependence on chemical fungicides.
  • Bacterial inactivation: UV-C light disrupts the genetic structure of bacteria, inhibiting their ability to replicate and cause disease. In hydroponic growing systems, where bacterial proliferation can be a real challenge for the grower, the application of UV-C light contributes to maintaining a more hygienic environment, greatly reducing the chances of having serious problems in the plants in the form of infection.
  • Virus deactivation: UV-C light attacks the genomic structure of viruses, deactivating them and preventing their spread. This ability is particularly beneficial in the prevention of viral diseases that can quickly decimate crops and compromise the entire harvest in the most severe cases.

UV-C lamps are used in laboratories to sterilize all types of objects and instruments
UV-C lamps are used in laboratories to sterilize all types of objects and instruments

  • Improvement in air and surface quality: By implementing UV-C lamps in ventilation and air disinfection systems, a significant improvement in air quality is achieved, reducing the microbial load in the growing environment. Indeed, providing your plants with the best possible air quality within their growing space will result in far fewer problems during plant development.
  • Less dependence on pesticides: The strategic incorporation of UV-C light allows a reduction in the use of pesticides and chemicals, favoring more sustainable and respectful practices with the environment...and also with those who will consume the flowers later!
  • Increased production and quality: By minimizing the presence of pathogens and strengthening their natural defenses, plants experience less stress and channel more energy toward the growth and production of fruits or flowers, resulting in crops of higher quality and yield.
  • Implementation in irrigation systems: The integration of UV-C light in irrigation systems helps prevent clogging of conduits and emitters due to the growth of algae and microorganisms, ensuring a cleaner and more efficient water supply. A more common problem than it may seem, especially when several large or difficult-to-access tanks are used when cleaning them correctly.

In summary, UV-C light is presented as a valuable strategic ally in terms of managing diseases and biological threats in crops, allowing a proactive approach towards plant health and agricultural sustainability. However, if you decide to use this type of light, you should keep in mind that it can be very harmful to both you and your plants if done incorrectly, so below we leave you some safety tips when using UV lamps. -C as support in your cultivation.


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Safety measures for the use of UV-C light in crops

As we have mentioned previously, the use of UV-C light in crops requires safety measures to protect both the plants and the people who work in the environment. Here we present a list of some security measures that you should take into account, especially if you are a professional grower and even more so if you have employees under your supervision:

  1. Personal Protection: Use personal protective equipment, such as anti-UVC safety glasses that block ultraviolet radiation, to prevent direct exposure to the eyes and skin. Keep in mind that some grow lamps produce considerable amounts of ultraviolet light, so it is a recommended precautionary measure not only when using specific UV lamps, but in almost any type of cultivation illuminated with artificial light.
  2. Cultivation access control: Limit access to the area where UV-C light is used, ensuring that only authorized personnel with proper protection are allowed to enter.
  3. After-hours scheduling: Ideally, you should schedule the operation of UV-C lights outside of normal business hours to minimize worker exposure, that is, during those times when you know you will not have to enter your grow.
  4. Clear signage: In the case of companies, it will be highly recommended to place clear signage in the area of application of UV-C light, indicating the presence of radiation and the necessary precautions to take if you want to access it.
  5. Automation and remote control: Using automated or remote control systems to operate the UV-C lights will allow you to activate and deactivate the lamps without the need to be directly present in the treatment area.
  6. Continuous monitoring: Implementing continuous monitoring systems to monitor the operation of UV-C lights and detect any malfunctions or irregularities is always advisable. Prevention is better than cure, and detecting sources of problems before they become problems themselves can save your harvest, don't hesitate!
  7. Staff training: Again in the case of companies or large crops with different people working in them, it is advisable to provide adequate training and education to staff on the risks associated with UV-C light, as well as on safety measures and procedures. operations to follow.
  8. Integration with ventilation systems: When using this type of light, you must ensure that the area treated with UV-C light is well-ventilated to disperse any ozone generated during the process and to prevent heat buildup.
  9. Automatic shutdown in case of detection of people: Integrating automatic shutdown systems that deactivate UV-C lights in case of detecting the presence of people in the area can be a solution to avoid risks, using motion sensors or other devices.
  10. Compliance with current Standards and Regulations: As it cannot be otherwise if you are a professional, we advise you to ensure that you comply with all local standards and regulations related to the safety of the use of UV-C light in agricultural environments.

By implementing these safety measures, you can minimize the risk of exposure to UV-C radiation and ensure a safe and efficient work environment in crops. For the common self-cultivator, things are easier, since it basically involves connecting the UV-C light (using a programmer) during the time that one knows for sure that they will not be in the crop.

You see that the advantages of using UV-C light in cultivation are many since it also has a large number of different applications and ways of use. If you decide to try it, we recommend that you follow the instructions and safety measures of your lamp manufacturer to the letter, it will be the best way to ensure good results.

Happy harvest!

The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.

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