Two Control Groups
In this initial experiment I decided to use two control groups, one used LED illumination and the other fluorescent. The photoperiod for all the groups was 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of dark. The LED control group used an identical LED lighting module as the experiment group. I did not make an LED lighting module with 50% of the light intensity of the experimental LED lighting module, I am leaving that to a future experiment. The second control group will use a fluorescent lighting.
By measuring the plant growth and leaf area over time in each group I should be able to determine how the growth rate is diminished (if at all) by the strobe LED lights compared to the 100% duty cycle LED illumination. Then to measure how LED illumination compares to a more standardized type of fluorescent plant lighting.
The first experiment is impoverished. I am only using three groups of four plants each, two control groups and one experimental group. Statistically, the number of plants I am growing is insufficient to definitely form any conclusions, I know this. The in-group variance (natural growth rates) alone could undermine any results. My defense for using small groups is to say that I am just beginning this experiment and I want to get it off the ground. I plan on fine-tuning and expanding this experiment as I continue. The potential of this experiment is such that I plan to be re-running and improving this experiment over the next couple of years.
For the time being I will measure plant growth visually. If the experimental results justify the expensive, I will make provisions to measure the biomass (leaf size - area), wet weight and dry weight of the plants.
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