Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Developmental Physiology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2024 | Viewed by 12011

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Agronomy, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Páter Károly utca 1, H-2100 Gödöllő, Hungary
Interests: horticultural lighting; photosynthetic light response; lighting optimization; economics and sustainability of vertical farming; sensors; modeling

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Agronomy, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Páter Károly utca 1, H-2100 Gödöllő, Hungary
Interests: precision agriculture; sustainable agricultural technologies; renewable energies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Light is the energy source for photosynthesis and is also an important abiotic stress factor that affects the accumulation of secondary metabolites in horticultural crops. Plant species respond differently to varying light conditions. Relatively few changes in spectral composition result in significant differences in crop yield and crop quality. With LED technology, the photon flux density and spectral distribution of illumination can be continuously varied, enabling full optimization of the lighting environment for a particular plant species. Measuring the light response of plants is of utmost importance for controlling the agricultural environment, to identify the trade-off between the energy consumption of artificial lighting and the economic value of the crop.

The aim of this Special Issue is to gather horticultural research that reveals the effects and interactions of quantitative lighting parameters (photon flux density, photoperiod, etc.) and the spectral distribution of optical radiation, ranging from UV to far-red radiation. 

Dr. László Balázs
Dr. Gergő Péter Kovács
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Horticulturae is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • light-emitting diodes
  • light treatment
  • light recipes
  • photoperiod
  • vertical farming
  • controlled-environment agriculture
  • supplementary lighting
  • photon flux density
  • horticulture

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

14 pages, 804 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Growth, Yield and Bioactive Compounds of Ethiopian Kale (Brassica carinata A. Braun) Microgreens under Different LED Light Spectra and Substrates
by Ruth Nyambura Maru, John Wesonga, Hiromu Okazawa, Agnes Kavoo, Johnstone O. Neondo, Dickson Mgangathweni Mazibuko, Sarvesh Maskey and Francesco Orsini
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050436 - 24 Apr 2024
Abstract
Microgreens are innovative vegetable products whose production and consumption are gaining popularity globally thanks to their recognized nutraceutical properties. To date, the effects of lighting conditions and growing substrate on the performances of Brassica carinata microgreens (indigenous to Africa) remain underexplored. The present [...] Read more.
Microgreens are innovative vegetable products whose production and consumption are gaining popularity globally thanks to their recognized nutraceutical properties. To date, the effects of lighting conditions and growing substrate on the performances of Brassica carinata microgreens (indigenous to Africa) remain underexplored. The present study aimed at providing insights into the influence of different lighting treatments provided by LEDs, namely monochromatic blue (B), red (R), cool white (W) and a combination of three color diodes (B + R + W), and substrates (cocopeat, sand and cocopeat–sand mix (v/v) (1:1)) on the growth, yield and bioactive compounds of B. carinata microgreens. Seeds were germinated in dark chambers and cultivated in growth chambers equipped with LED lighting systems for 14 days under a fixed light intensity of 160 ± 2.5 µmol m−2 s−1 and photoperiod of 12 h d−1. The best performances were associated with the spectrum that combined B + R + W LEDs and with substrate resulting from the cocopeat–sand mix, including the highest yield (19.19 g plant−1), plant height (9.94 cm), leaf area (68.11 mm2) and canopy cover (55.9%). Enhanced carotenoid and flavonoid contents were obtained with B + R + W LEDs, while the B LED increased the total amount of chlorophyll (11,880 mg kg−1). For plants grown under B + R + W LEDs in cocopeat, high nitrate levels were observed. Our results demonstrate that substrate and light environment interact to influence the growth, yield and concentration of bioactive compounds of B. carinata microgreens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
14 pages, 6883 KiB  
Article
Effect of Photoperiod and Gibberellin on the Bolting and Flowering of Non-Heading Chinese Cabbage
by Shuping Liu, Junyang Lu, Jun Tian, Ping Cao, Shuhao Li, Haicui Ge, Mingxuan Han and Fenglin Zhong
Horticulturae 2023, 9(12), 1349; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9121349 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1006
Abstract
Non-heading Chinese cabbage (cabbage) is an essential green leafy vegetable, and bolting and flowering are necessary for reproduction. However, further research is needed to study the effect of photoperiod on the bolting and flowering of cabbage, particularly on the development of the stem. [...] Read more.
Non-heading Chinese cabbage (cabbage) is an essential green leafy vegetable, and bolting and flowering are necessary for reproduction. However, further research is needed to study the effect of photoperiod on the bolting and flowering of cabbage, particularly on the development of the stem. In this study, we performed phenotypic analysis and measured endogenous gibberellin levels in the cabbage. We carried out these experiments under four different photoperiodic treatments, 12 h (light)/12 h (dark), 14 h (light)/10 h (dark), 16 h (light)/8 h (dark), and 18 h (light)/6 h (dark). The results showed that the time of bolting and flowering gradually decreased with increasing light duration. The development of stems was optimal under the 16 h (light)/8 h (dark) photoperiod treatment, and the same result was obtained via cytological observation. In addition, the changes in the endogenous gibberellin3 (GA3) content under different photoperiodic treatments were consistent with the development of stems and peaked at 16 h (light)/8 h (dark). At the same time, qRT-PCR analysis showed that the relative expression of the key gibberellin synthase genes, BcGA3ox2 and BcGA20ox2, exhibited upregulation. When treated with exogenous GA3 and its synthesis inhibitor, paclobutrazol (PAC), exogenous gibberellins significantly promoted bolting; conversely, gibberellin inhibitors suppressed the bolting, flowering, and stem elongation of cabbage. Therefore, the photoperiod may regulate cabbage bolting by regulating endogenous GA3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 4497 KiB  
Article
Colored Shading Nets Differentially Affect the Phytochemical Profile, Antioxidant Capacity, and Fruit Quality of Piquin Peppers (Capsicum annuum L. var. glabriusculum)
by Yamir Jiménez-Viveros and Juan Ignacio Valiente-Banuet
Horticulturae 2023, 9(11), 1240; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9111240 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 897
Abstract
Piquin pepper fruits, a semi-domesticated wild pepper species highly valued in Mexico, currently face the threat of unsustainable harvesting practices that endanger the species. For this reason, it is necessary to establish sustainable agricultural practices for the cultivation of these peppers. Solar radiation, [...] Read more.
Piquin pepper fruits, a semi-domesticated wild pepper species highly valued in Mexico, currently face the threat of unsustainable harvesting practices that endanger the species. For this reason, it is necessary to establish sustainable agricultural practices for the cultivation of these peppers. Solar radiation, a critical determinant in crop production, plays a crucial role in plant development, influencing a spectrum of physiological and morphological processes, including the synthesis of phytochemicals. Our study evaluated the effect of light manipulation through colored shading nets on the phytochemical profile, antioxidant capacity, and fruit quality of semi-domesticated piquin peppers at two maturation stages: immature and mature (green and red fruits). Our hypothesis posits that these shading treatments may induce changes in these fruits’ phytochemical composition and antioxidant properties, as well as quality. Our results indicate that the shading treatments and maturity stage have significant on capsaicinoid and carotenoid levels, with the highest levels observed in mature fruits. Notably, red fruits grown under black shading treatments resulted in the highest capsaicinoid levels. Carotenoid levels were higher in the black shading treatment during the first cycle, while in the second cycle, the blue shading treatment showed elevated carotenoid levels, suggesting that high irradiance conditions could reduce carotenoid contents. Although no significant differences were observed among the treatments in green fruits, in red fruits, both black and blue treatments exhibited the highest total phenolic compounds in both production cycles. Furthermore, the antioxidant capacity revealed that red fruits exhibited higher antioxidant levels than green fruits. Color analysis showed that red fruits had higher chroma and hue angle values, indicating their brighter and more intense red color than green fruits. The morphological changes in fruit width, length, and weight can be attributed to shading treatments and maturation stages. These results indicate the potential of piquin peppers to act as rich sources of bioactive compounds, emphasizing the benefits of shading as an effective strategy to improve the quality and quantity of phytochemical compounds in piquin peppers. Our findings provide substantial insights into the intricate relationship between maturation, shading treatments, and phytochemical composition, offering a path to improve the nutritional value and quality of piquin peppers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2102 KiB  
Article
Quantifying the Effect of Light Intensity Uniformity on the Crop Yield by Pea Microgreens Growth Experiments
by László Balázs, Gergő Péter Kovács, Csaba Gyuricza, Petra Piroska, Ákos Tarnawa and Zoltán Kende
Horticulturae 2023, 9(11), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9111187 - 30 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1048
Abstract
Differences in individual plant growth are affected by the spatial variation of light intensity, reducing the homogeneity of microgreen crops. Identifying the tradeoffs between light uniformity and crop quality is challenging due to the confounding effect of nonuniform illuminance with other noise factors. [...] Read more.
Differences in individual plant growth are affected by the spatial variation of light intensity, reducing the homogeneity of microgreen crops. Identifying the tradeoffs between light uniformity and crop quality is challenging due to the confounding effect of nonuniform illuminance with other noise factors. This study presents the results of hydroponic pea (Pisum sativum, L.) growth experiments aimed at quantifying the effect of photon irradiance variations. By adjusting the power of LED luminaires, we established one uniformly illuminated zone and two non-uniformly illuminated zones. Germinated seeds with 6 cm-long radicles were transplanted to cultivation trays with known light intensity in predetermined positions. Plants were cut 12 days after the start of light treatment and measured for fresh weight and shoot height. Our findings revealed no significant difference between the crop yield on trays having the same average PPFD but different light uniformity. However, correlation analysis of individual measurement data showed that local PPFD differences explained 31% of the fresh weight variation, and the rest was attributed to noise in the germination and growth processes. We also discuss the implications of our findings for the design and optimization of vertical farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 4167 KiB  
Article
Mesh Crop Cover Optimizes the Microenvironment in a Tropical Region and Modifies the Physiology and Metabolome in Tomato
by Victoria A. Delgado-Vargas, Gloria I. Hernández-Bolio, Emanuel Hernández-Núñez, Hélène Gautier, Oscar J. Ayala-Garay and René Garruña
Horticulturae 2023, 9(6), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9060636 - 29 May 2023
Viewed by 1079
Abstract
In tropical regions, high light levels can lead to increased photooxidative damage in plants. Thus, reducing solar radiation could have a substantial impact on crop performance. This study aimed to evaluate the physiological responses and metabolic profile of two tomato varieties grown in [...] Read more.
In tropical regions, high light levels can lead to increased photooxidative damage in plants. Thus, reducing solar radiation could have a substantial impact on crop performance. This study aimed to evaluate the physiological responses and metabolic profile of two tomato varieties grown in microenvironments modified with cover meshes under a high light level and a warm climate. The experiment was achieved under high solar irradiance and an unfavorably high temperature. The varieties “Moneymaker” (MM) and “Campeche 40” (C40) were grown from 45 to 130 days after sowing at four solar irradiance levels: 100% (T1), 80% (T2), 75% (T3), and 50% (T4). In both varieties, the plants grown under the lowest irradiances (T3 and T4) were the tallest, with larger leaf areas, and accumulated more aerial and root biomass. Under moderate shading (T2), plants took better advantage of the light and had the highest photochemical quenching coefficient (qP) (C40 = 0.60 and MM = 0.48) and the highest electron transport rate (ETR). However, T3 and T4 plants had the highest net assimilation rate (23.6 and 23.9 µmol m−2 s−1 in C40, and 22.7 and 22.6 µmol m−2 s−1 in MM, respectively) and the highest A/Ci coefficients. Although both tomato varieties accumulate similar metabolites, MM leaves accumulate more glucose and C40 leaves accumulate more proline and valine. Furthermore, MM leaves accumulate more glycine and GABA under high radiation, and C40 leaves accumulate more proline and valine than leaves under 50% shade (T4). We conclude that using meshes in areas with high irradiance could be an alternative to reduce abiotic stress factors in plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 2598 KiB  
Article
Effects of Light Intensity on Endogenous Hormones and Key Enzyme Activities of Anthocyanin Synthesis in Blueberry Leaves
by Xiaoli An, Tianyu Tan, Xinyu Zhang, Xiaolan Guo, Yunzheng Zhu, Zejun Song and Delu Wang
Horticulturae 2023, 9(6), 618; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9060618 - 25 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1216
Abstract
Plant anthocyanin is a secondary metabolite widely distributed in the roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits of plants, and its synthesis is significantly affected by light intensity. To reveal the physiological response mechanism of anthocyanin synthesis in blueberry leaves at different light intensities, [...] Read more.
Plant anthocyanin is a secondary metabolite widely distributed in the roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits of plants, and its synthesis is significantly affected by light intensity. To reveal the physiological response mechanism of anthocyanin synthesis in blueberry leaves at different light intensities, four light intensities (100% (CK), 75%, 50% and 25%) were set for the ‘O’Neal’ southern highbush blueberry as the experimental material in our study. The relationship between endogenous hormone contents, key enzyme activities, and variations in the anthocyanin content in blueberry leaves under various light intensities during the white fruit stage (S1), purple fruit stage (S2) and blue fruit stage (S3) of fruit development were studied. The results showed that the anthocyanin content of blueberry leaves increased first and then decreased, and decreased first and then increased with the increase in light intensity and development stage, respectively. The appropriate light intensity could significantly promote the synthesis of anthocyanin, and the anthocyanin content in leaves treated with 75% light intensity was 1.09~4.08 times that of other light intensity treatments. The content or activities of gibberellin (GA3), indoleacetic acid (IAA), jasmonic acid (JA), abscisic acid (ABA), ethylene (ETH), phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), chalcone isomerase (CHI), dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR) and UDP-glucose: flavonoid 3-glucosyltransferase (UFGT) were significantly or extremely significantly correlated with the content of anthocyanin in leaves. This indicated that light intensity significantly promoted anthocyanin synthesis in blueberry leaves by affecting endogenous hormone contents and key enzyme activities in the anthocyanin synthesis pathway. This study lays a foundation for further research on the molecular mechanism of light intensity regulating anthocyanin synthesis in blueberry leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 789 KiB  
Article
Effects of LED Red and Blue Spectra Irradiance Levels and Nutrient Solution EC on the Growth, Yield, and Phenolic Content of Lemon Basil (Ocimum citriodurum Vis.)
by Zurafni Mat Daud, Mohd Firdaus Ismail and Mansor Hakiman
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040416 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1153
Abstract
This research was conducted to study the effects of LED red and blue spectra irradiance levels and nutrient solution (electrical conductivity) and their interaction on the plant growth, yield, and phytochemical contents of lemon basil (Ocimum citriodorum Vis.) in a controlled environment. [...] Read more.
This research was conducted to study the effects of LED red and blue spectra irradiance levels and nutrient solution (electrical conductivity) and their interaction on the plant growth, yield, and phytochemical contents of lemon basil (Ocimum citriodorum Vis.) in a controlled environment. The controlled environment was equipped with red and blue spectra at a 4:1 ratio with irradiance levels of 80 and 160 µmol m−2 s−1 and irrigated with four different nutrient solution ECs at 1.0, 1.8, 2.6, and 3.4 mS cm−1, cultivated on a vertical structure. The temperature and relative humidity of the controlled environment and the pH of the nutrient solution were maintained at 26 and 18 °C day and night, 65 ± 5%, and pH 6, respectively. It was observed that plant height, canopy diameter, and the number of leaves of lemon basil had significantly increased under the irradiance levels of 160 µmol m−2 s−1 in combination with a nutrient solution EC of 2.6 mS cm−1. In addition, there was an interaction observed between the LED irradiance levels and the nutrient solution EC on the fresh weight of the stem and the dry weight of all the plant parts (leaves, stem, and roots). Lemon basil cultivated at 160 µmol m−2 s−1 and irrigated with 2.6 mS cm−1 was significantly higher in fresh stem weight and dry leaf, stem, and root weight at 17.36, 1.79, 1.82, and 0.22 g, respectively. The ascorbic acid of lemon basil was significantly higher under a treatment of 160 µmol m−2 s−1 irradiance level and an EC of 2.6 mS cm−1, and no interaction was observed. At the same time, there was an interaction observed between the LED irradiance level and the nutrient solution EC on the total phenolic content (TPC), total flavonoid content (TFC), and caftaric acid concentration of lemon basil. Lemon basil cultivated at 160 µmol m−2 s−1 and irrigated with 2.6 mS cm−1 was significantly higher in TPC, TFC, and caftaric acid concentration, with 1440.62 mg gallic acid equivalent to 100 g−1 DW, 1148.79 mg quercetin equivalent to 100 g−1 DW, and 2812.50 mg 100 g−1 DW, respectively. This result indicates that the irradiance levels of red and blue LED spectra at 160 µmol m−2 s−1 and irrigated with a nutrient solution EC of 2.6 mS cm−1 enhances the growth, yield production, and phenolic content of lemon basil in a controlled environment facility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 1638 KiB  
Article
Supplemental LED Lighting Improves Fruit Growth and Yield of Tomato Grown under the Sub-Optimal Lighting Condition of a Building Integrated Rooftop Greenhouse (i-RTG)
by Elisa Appolloni, Ivan Paucek, Giuseppina Pennisi, Gaia Stringari, Xavier Gabarrell Durany, Francesco Orsini and Giorgio Gianquinto
Horticulturae 2022, 8(9), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8090771 - 26 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1964
Abstract
The metabolism of a building can be connected to a rooftop greenhouse, exchanging energy, water and CO2 flows, therefore reducing emissions and recycling cultivation inputs. However, integrating a rooftop greenhouse onto a building requires the application of stringent safety codes (e.g., fire, [...] Read more.
The metabolism of a building can be connected to a rooftop greenhouse, exchanging energy, water and CO2 flows, therefore reducing emissions and recycling cultivation inputs. However, integrating a rooftop greenhouse onto a building requires the application of stringent safety codes (e.g., fire, seismic codes), to strengthen and secure the structure with safety elements such as thick steel pillars or fireproof covering materials. These elements can shade the vegetation or reduce solar radiation entering the rooftop greenhouse. Nevertheless, application of additional LED light can help to overcome this constraint. The present study evaluated supplemental LED light application in an integrated rooftop greenhouse (i-RTG) at the ICTA-UAB research institute, located in Barcelona (Spain), for tomato cultivation (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Siranzo). The experiment explored the effects of three LED lighting treatments and a control cultivated under natural light only (CK). Applied treatments, added to natural sunlight, were: red and blue (RB), red and blue + far-red (FR) for the whole day, and red and blue + far-red at the end-of-day (EOD), each for 16 h d−1 (8 a.m.–12 a.m.) with an intensity of 170 µmol m−2 s−1. The results indicate that LED light increased the overall yield by 17% compared with CK plants. In particular, CK tomatoes were 9.3% lighter and 7.2% fewer as compared with tomatoes grown under LED treatments. Fruit ripening was also affected, with an increase of 35% red proximal fruit in LED-treated plants. In conclusion, LED light seems to positively affect the development and growth of tomatoes in building integrated agriculture in the Mediterranean area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

19 pages, 1760 KiB  
Review
Modification of Light Characteristics Affect the Phytochemical Profile of Peppers
by Yamir Jiménez-Viveros, Héctor Gordon Núñez-Palenius, Grisel Fierros-Romero and Juan Ignacio Valiente-Banuet
Horticulturae 2023, 9(1), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9010072 - 06 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2427
Abstract
Capsicum is one of the most economically important genera in the Solanaceae family. Capsicum fruits (peppers) are rich in phytochemicals with high nutritional value and significant health-promoting characteristics. The phytochemical profile of peppers consists of capsaicinoids, carotenoids, and phenolics, primarily. Currently, most of [...] Read more.
Capsicum is one of the most economically important genera in the Solanaceae family. Capsicum fruits (peppers) are rich in phytochemicals with high nutritional value and significant health-promoting characteristics. The phytochemical profile of peppers consists of capsaicinoids, carotenoids, and phenolics, primarily. Currently, most of the pepper production is carried out under protected horticulture conditions. The objective of this article was to provide a comprehensive review on how light characteristics and manipulation by different horticultural technologies can affect the biosynthesis and accumulation of phytochemicals in Capsicum fruits. The use of shade nets or plastic covers to reduce light intensity does not seem to yield consistent responses on the phytochemical profile, as the final profile results from the interaction of several factors. Other factors involved in the accumulation of phytochemicals include temperature, water availability and plant nutrition. Exposure of plants to supplemental light with specific wavelengths (using LEDs) seems to result in a more precise stimulation of specific metabolites. In this article, we examine the effects of light irradiance and spectrum on the specific phytochemicals of Capsicum fruits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Light Quantity and Quality on Horticultural Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop