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Researchers test effects of LEDs on leaf lettuce
Date:11/19/2013

CHEONGJU, SOUTH KOREA--In the life cycle of plants, most developmental processes are dependent on light. Significant biological processes such as germination, shade avoidance, circadian rhythms, and flower induction are all affected by light. Recent advancements in the use of LED lighting in plant and vegetable production systems has researchers looking for insights into the effects of these artificial lights on the growth and yield of crops. Scientists from the Department of Horticultural Science at Chungbuk National University published a study in HortScience that sheds some light on the advantages and challenges of LEDs in lettuce cultivation.

The increased use of LEDs in environmentally controlled closed-type plant production systems allows crop production throughout the year, regardless of external weather conditions. According to authors Ki-Ho Son and Myung-Min Oh, LEDs have some advantages over traditional lighting sources in plant cultivation. "LEDs have the advantages of high light-conversion efficiency with low radiant heat output, semipermanence, and small mass," they noted. "In addition, LEDs are available in a variety of narrow wavebands; hence, it is possible to optimize light quality to improve both crop yield and quality." They explained that blue and red LEDs are usually used for plant growth because chlorophyll a and b efficiently absorb wavelengths in the blue and red ranges.

The research design used red and green leaf lettuce subjected to six LED lighting treatments. The scientists examined growth characteristics including the fresh and dry weights of shoots and roots, shoot-to-root ratio, total leaf area, and chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll fluorescence, antioxidant capacity, phenolic concentration, and flavonoid concentration were also measured in the study. "The growth characteristic results for the two lettuce cultivars grown under various ratios of blue to red LEDs confirmed that red LED serves as a major ligh
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert

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