Effects of Light Intensity and Growth Rate on Tipburn Development and Leaf Calcium Concentration in Butterhead Lettuce

in HortScience

Tipburn is a severe problem in producing butterhead lettuce under artificial lighting and develops as a consequence of decreased calcium concentrations in leaves. Here, we investigated the effects of light intensity on tipburn development and calcium concentration in leaves by comparing their growth rates. Butterhead lettuce was grown in a plant factory under artificial light at photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) densities of 150, 200, 250, and 300 μmol·m−2·s−1. Fresh and dry weights of shoots, relative growth rate, the number of leaves, and the number of tipburned leaves significantly increased with light intensity. Associations existed between growth and tipburn occurrence. Calcium absorption rate per plant also increased with light intensity in association with increased water absorption rate. Consequently, calcium concentrations in the entire plant and outer leaves increased with light intensity. In contrast, calcium concentration in the inner enclosed leaves did not increase with light intensity. This pattern can be attributed to the higher mass flow of calcium to outer leaves than to inner leaves, driven by transpiration, under high light intensities. Thus, a lack of calcium in the inner leaves resulting from rapid growth may contribute to the frequent tipburn development.

Contributor Notes

This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 26850157) and “Program to Disseminate Tenure Tracking System,” MEXT, Japan.

I thank Shoko Fukuoka for technical assistance with the experiments.

Corresponding author. E-mail: sago@yamaguchi-u.ac.jp.

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    (A) Fresh weight, (B) dry weight, (C) relative growth rate per day between 10 and 30 d after sowing (RGRDAS30), (D) number of leaves, and (E) number of tipburned leaves of butterhead lettuce shoot grown under different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) at 30 d after sowing. Means of 10 plants are shown with standard errors. Means with same letter are not significantly different by Tukey’s honestly significant difference test at P < 0.01.

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    (A) Fresh weight, (B) dry weight, (C) relative growth rate per day between 10 and 35 d after sowing (RGRDAS35), (D) number of leaves, and (E) number of tipburned leaves of butterhead lettuce shoot grown under different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) at 35 d after sowing. Means of 10 plants are shown with standard errors. Means with same letter are not significantly different by the Tukey’s honestly significant difference test at P < 0.01.

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    Relationships between number of tipburned leaves at 30 d after sowing and the fresh weight, dry weight, relative growth rate for 10 to 30 d after sowing (RGRDAS30), and the number of leaves in butterhead lettuce grown under different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs). The solid lines represent linear regressions fitted to each data set: (a) y = −21.27 + 0.50x; r = 0.869; P < 0.01; (b) y = −18.59 + 8.13x; r = 0.902; P < 0.01; (c) y = −140.1 + 487.0x; r = 0.0.864; P < 0.01; (d) y = −17.66 + 0.88x; r = 0.882; P < 0.01.

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    Relationships between number of tipburned leaves at 35 d after sowing and the fresh weight, dry weight, relative growth rate for 10 to 35 d after sowing (RGRDAS35), and number of leaves in butterhead lettuce grown under different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs). The solid lines represent linear regressions fitted to each data set: (a) y = −27.893 + 0.39x; r = 0.693; P < 0.01; (b) y = −36.45 + 9.59x; r = 0.771; P < 0.01; (c) y = −361.2 + 1426.3x; r = 0.773; P < 0.01; (d) y = −28.72 + 0.87x; r = 0.800; P < 0.01.

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    Rates of water absorption of butterhead lettuce under different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) at 35 d after sowing. Means of 10 plants are shown with standard errors.

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    Rates of calcium absorption of butterhead lettuce under different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) at 35 d after sowing. Means of 10 plants are shown with standard errors.

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    Calcium concentrations in butterhead lettuce grown under different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) at 35 d after sowing. Means of 10 plants are shown with standard errors.

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    Calcium concentrations in the inner leaf (31st leaf from the cotyledons; ●) and the outer leaf (21st leaf from the cotyledons; ○) in butterhead lettuce leaves grown under different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) at 35 d after sowing. Means of 10 plants are shown with standard errors.

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