Photochemical Characterization of Greenhouse-grown Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Green Towers’) with Applications for Supplemental Lighting Control

in HortScience

Plant light use efficiency decreases as light intensity is increased, and a better understanding of crop-specific light responses can contribute to the development of more energy-efficient supplemental lighting control strategies for greenhouses. In this study, diurnal chlorophyll fluorescence monitoring was used to characterize the photochemical responses of ‘Green Towers’ lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) to photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and daily light integral (DLI) in a greenhouse during a production cycle. Plants were monitored continuously for 35 days, with chlorophyll fluorescence measurements collected once every 15 minutes. Quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII) decreased exponentially with PPFD, whereas electron transport rate (ETR) increased asymptotically to 121 µmol·m–2·s–1. Daily photochemical integral (DPI) is defined as the integral of ETR over a 24-hour period; DPI increased asymptotically to 3.29 mol·m–2·d–1 with increasing DLI. No effects of plant age or prior day’s DLI and a negligible effect of PPFDs 15 or 30 minutes before measurements within days were observed. Simulations were conducted using the regression equation of ETR as a function of PPFD {ETR = 121[1 – exp(–0.00277PPFD)]} to illustrate methods of increasing photochemical light use efficiency for improved supplemental lighting control strategies. For a given DLI, DPI can be increased by providing light at lower PPFDs for a longer period of time, and can be maximized by providing light with a uniform PPFD throughout the entire photoperiod. Similarly, the DLI required to achieve a given DPI is reduced using these same methods.

Contributor Notes

This research was funded in part by a U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Small Business Innovation Research grant to Candidus, Inc.

Corresponding author. E-mail: gmweaver@uga.edu.

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    Daily light integral (DLI) over the course of the study.

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    Quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII) of ‘Green Towers’ lettuce as a function of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) based on 35 d of constant diurnal monitoring. Closed symbols represent measurements taken before solar noon; open symbols represent measurements taken after solar noon. The regression line represents the equation ΦPSII = 0.171 + 0.643e–0.00178PPFD, with R2 = 0.89 and P < 0.0001 (top). Electron transport rate (ETR) of ‘Green Towers’ lettuce as a function of PPFD based on 35 d of constant diurnal monitoring. Closed symbols represent measurements taken before solar noon; open symbols represent measurements taken after solar noon. The regression line represents the equation ETR = 121(1 – e–0.00277PPFD), with R2 = 0.95 and P < 0.0001 (bottom).

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    Daily photochemical integral (DPI) of ‘Green Towers’ lettuce as a function of daily light integral (DLI) based on 35 d of diurnal chlorophyll fluorescence monitoring. The regression line represents the equation DPI = 3.30(1 – e–0.122DLI), with R2 = 0.82 and P < 0.0001.

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    Daily photochemical integral (DPI) resulting from reaching a daily light integral (DLI) of 17 mol·m–2·d–1 with a constant photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) over a range of photoperiods required (top); required PPFD, and corresponding electron transport rate (ETR; calculated from equation in Fig. 2, bottom).

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    Daily photochemical integral (DPI) resulting from reaching a daily light integral (DLI) of 17 mol·m–2·d–1 with a 12-h photoperiod using two photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs), each for half of the photoperiod, with a range of differences between the two PPFDs (ΔPPFD) (top). Required PPFDs (bottom), and corresponding electron transport rates (ETRs) (middle) are shown. For ΔPPFD = 0, only one PPFD is used.

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    Daily light integral (DLI) needed to reach a calculated daily photochemical integral (DPI) of 2.89 mol·m–2·d–1 with a constant photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) over a range of photoperiods (top); required electron transport rate (ETR) and corresponding PPFD (bottom) based on the regression equation in Fig. 2 (bottom).

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