Main content area

Changes in mineral element content of microgreens cultivated under different lighting conditions in a greenhouse

Brazaityte, A., Vaštakaitė, V., Jankauskienė, J., Samuolienė, G., Sakalauskienė, S., Novičkovas, A., Miliauskienė, J., Duchovskis, P.
Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1227 pp. 507-516
canopy, carbon, crops, dietary minerals, fruit quality, fruit yield, fruiting, greenhouses, leaves, light emitting diodes, microgreens, photoperiod, photosynthesis, plant growth, sodium, spatial distribution, sweet peppers, tomatoes, vegetable growing, winter
Different spectra of light trigger different plant growth processes. Therefore, the optimum light spectrum for various plant physiological and growth processes may be different. For greenhouse fruiting vegetables, such as tomatoes, it is important to optimize light spectrum to promote canopy growth to increase light interception during the early stage of plant growth. Once the plants reach full canopy, the focus should be moved to optimizing vertical light distribution because most greenhouse fruiting vegetables are tall crops and the growth processes along the vertical profile are different; most of the canopy growth occurs in the top and middle canopy while fruit growth occurs in the middle and bottom canopy. Because the fruit, not the leaf, is the economic product, the optimized light spectral composition should enhance leaf carbon export and translocation to fruit to improve fruit yield and quality. Therefore, a research project was initiated in 2013 to identify proper light spectral composition and vertical distribution regimes for greenhouse fruiting vegetable production. Different overhead light sources (high-pressure sodium light with or without far-red light-emitting diode (LED) light, plasma light and different spectral compositions of LEDs) and several intra-canopy spectral compositions provided by LEDs were evaluated over four winters on tomatoes, mini-cucumbers and sweet peppers. The effects of light spectrum on whole-plant net carbon exchange and leaf carbon export using (14)C-isotype tracing were also investigated. The vertical light regimes resulted in significant differences in leaf photosynthetic rate, leaf size, fruit yield and fruit quality in greenhouse tomatoes, mini-cucumbers and sweet peppers. Proper vertical light regimes were identified for hybrid light systems (overhead high intensity discharge light + intra-canopy LEDs) and for pure LED light systems (overhead + intra-canopy LEDs). This review clearly demonstrates that optimized vertical light regimes can be developed for improving both plant growth and fruit yield and quality in year-round greenhouse fruiting vegetable production.