Real-time sensors for predictive controlled environments
Cannabis cultivation is a new and rapidly expanding industry. Smart agriculture and precision growing techniques promise to increase cannabis yields, consistency, and cost-effectiveness. Spectroscopy is critical to automated, precision control in cannabis farming.
- PAR (photosynthetically active radiation, hence the broad wavelength range below (incl. NIR reflections from the leaves after Stokes shifts in case of excessive light exposure) )
- Potency testing of cannabinoids (THC and CBD)
- Terpene profiling
- Pesticide screening
- Residual solvents
- Moisture content
- Mycotoxins analysis
While some cannabis growers utilize traditional outdoor growing practices, growing cannabis indoors provides year-round harvests, higher yields, and more security for growers. On top of this, research and commercial demand are providing an influx of reliable information based on specific strains of cannabis to be produced, making it imperative that their cultivation is accurate.
Recreational and medicinal cannabis products must contain a consistent amount of their active ingredients, to ensure sufficient levels of efficacy, patient safety, and customer satisfaction. It is particularly important to control the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive agent in cannabis; cannabidiol (CBD), which has been associated with some of the medicinal properties of cannabis, and terpenes such as myrcene, caryophyllene, humulene and others, which play an important role in a cannabis strain’s taste and smell as well as interacting to enhance or mellow the activities of THC and CBD.
Achieving consistent levels of active ingredients in plants requires exact growing conditions; for a reliable cannabis product, growers need a precise and consistent cultivation method.5-7
Precision agriculture often involves specifically controlling light, nutrients, water, humidity, and air quality for stable crop growth. Cannabis growers are beginning to exploit research into precision farming to optimize their indoor and outdoor growing environments to improve efficiency while reducing costs.
The spectrum of light and its intensity are particularly important considerations for growing crops indoors. For cannabis growing, different lighting conditions can be used to optimize crop weight, density, cosmetic appeal, fragrance, terpene profiles, THC levels, and CBD levels.
For example, in the vegetative stage, an abundance of blue light can ensure healthy leaves, while during the flowering stage red light may be used to increase bud size. This has to be balanced with the need for a broad spectrum of light to promote a full profile of terpenes developing. Research has also found that the optimum temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and plant nutrition parameters also vary according to the growth stage.
Traditionally, changing conditions for each cannabis growth stage has involved moving plants from one room to another after certain time periods. This is no longer necessary, with smart sensors and internet-enabled devices that allow farmers to automatically and remotely adjust environmental conditions, with information-based decision making.
We provide the latest real-time, permanently-calibrated smart sensors that provide full insight into plant health, potential yield, and cost analysis during the production process. In this way, optical spectroscopy can provide remote monitoring of crop weight; moisture on the plant, air and soil, dry matter, nitrogen content, mineral content, and composition, enabling smart systems to monitor plant growth and health. Optical spectroscopy can also indicate the presence of weeds, pests, and diseases so that problems can be detected and dealt with efficiently.
- Quality control solutions
- Industrial embedded computers
- Potency testing
- Plant feedback systems
- Concentration testing (Moisture, CO2, PAR)
- Real-time results
- Inline predictive yield
- Permanent calibration