Ultraviolet-A Radiation Stimulates Growth of Indoor Cultivated Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Seedlings

in HortScience

Ultraviolet-A (UV-A) is the main component of UV radiation in nature. However, its role on plant growth, to a large extent, remains unknown. In this study, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Beijing Cherry Tomato’) seedlings were cultivated in an controlled environment in which UV-A radiation was provided by UV-A fluorescent lamps (λmax = 369 nm) with a fluence rate of 2.28 W·m−2. The photoperiod of UV-A radiation was 0, 4, 8, and 16 hours, which corresponds to control, UV-A4, UV-A8, and UV-A16 treatments, respectively. The photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) was 220 μmol·m−2·s−1, which was provided by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with a blue/red light ratio of 1:9, the photoperiod of PPFD was 16 hours. We showed that supplementing 8 and 16 hours of UV-A to visible radiation (400–700 nm) stimulated plant biomass production by 29% and 33%, respectively, compared with that of control. This resulted mainly from larger leaves (i.e., 22% and 31% in 8 and 16 hours UV-A, respectively), which facilitated light capture. Supplemental UV-A also enhanced photosynthetic capacity, as indicated by greater net photosynthesis rates in response to CO2 under saturating PPFD. Furthermore, the greatest stomatal conductance (gS) value was observed in UV-A16, followed by UV-A8, which correlated with the greater stomatal density in the corresponding treatments. Moreover, supplemental UV-A did not induce any stress, as the maximum quantum efficiency of photosynthetic system II (PSII) (Fv/Fm) remained ≈0.82 in all treatments. Similarly, chlorophyll content and leaf mass area (LMA) were also unaffected by UV-A radiation. Taken together, we conclude that supplementing reasonable levels of UV-A to visible radiation stimulates growth of indoor cultivated tomato seedlings.

Contributor Notes

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (no. 2017YFB0403900) and the Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program by CAST (2016QNRC001).

Corresponding author. E-mail: litao06@caas.cn.

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Article Figures

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    Light spectra of the light environments in the growth cabinet measured at plant level.

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    The effect of different ultraviolet (UV)-A treatments on (A) plant dry weight, (B) leaf area, and (C) stem length. Different letters indicate statistically significant differences among treatments (P < 0.05). Error bars show ±se (n = 17).

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    The effect of different ultraviolet (UV)-A treatments on the response of photosynthesis rates (An) to (A) photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and (B) intercellular CO2 partial pressures (Ci), as well as the quantum efficiency of photosynthetic system II (ΦPSII) to (C) PPFD and (D) Ci. Error bars show ±se (n = 4).

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    The effect of different ultraviolet (UV)-A treatments on stomatal conductance (gS). The measurements were taken during middle of the day when ultraviolet-A lamps were turned on in all treatments. Different letters indicate statistically significant differences among treatments (P < 0.05). Error bars show ±se (n = 4, each replicate represents the mean of four different measurement positions in the same leaflet).

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    The effect of different ultraviolet (UV)-A treatments on leaf absorptance within the range of the visible spectrum (400–700 nm; n = 4). The measurements were taken on four leaflets from four different plants, and three different positions were measured in each leaflet.

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