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Solid-state illuminator reduces nitrates in leafy green vegetables
Date:4/15/2010

KAUNAS, LITHUNIASearching for ways to improve the nutritional quality of leafy green vegetables, Lithuanian researchers have found success with new technology that features high-density photosynthetic photon flux generated by a solid-state illuminator. The technology, which can be applied in greenhouses for preharvest treatment of leafy vegetables, was found to decrease concentrations of harmful nitrates while allowing some beneficial nutrient levels to increase. The research results were published in a recent issue of HortScience.

The researchers experimented with a solid-state illuminator to provide short-term preharvest light treatment of lettuce, marjoram, and green onions. The vegetable plants were grown to harvest time in a greenhouse under daylight with supplementary lighting provided by standard high-pressure sodium lamps. A subsequent 3-day treatment within a phytotron under light-emitting diodes resulted in the reduction of nitrate concentration by 44% to 65%.

According to Giedre Samuoliene, lead author of the report, the technology is different from the usual practice of using high-pressure sodium lamps; solid-state illuminators limit the amount of radiant heat, allowing a high intensity of photosynthesis. Additionally, the technique allows for short-term treatment of plants rather than for full-cycle growth.

In vegetable leaves exposed to light generated by the solid-state illuminator, nitrate concentration was reduced by two to three times in comparison with those kept under high-pressure sodium lamps. The highest nitrate reduction rate was observed in hydroponically grown lettuce; after a 3-day treatment under red LEDs, tests showed a 65% relative decrease of nitrate concentration. The relative decrease of nitrates was similar in all species tested. "The results of our study indicate that nitrate content in lettuce, marjoram, and green onions can be considerably reduced by several times using short-term preharvest t
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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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