The effect of UV-B fluorescent lamp light on seedling elongation was investigated using three species: marigold (Tagetes sp.), cucumber (Cucumis sativa), and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). Seedlings were exposed to light supplied from two unshielded and unfiltered 40-watt UV-B fluorescent lamps. In two experiments, seedlings were placed a distance of 45 cm below the light for varying lengths of time, while seedlings were placed 60 cm below the light in a third experiment. For marigold, seedlings were shorter when germinated under the UV-B lamp than when germinated under natural light in a glasshouse. Two hours of exposure just after glasshouse germination (cotyledons unfolded) was effective in reducing height of cucumber seedlings, whereas 6 hours was required to significantly reduce the height of tomato seedlings. Treatments were still effective when the last measurements were taken 12 to 14 days after germination. Exposure of seedlings to UV-B lamp light provides a possible alternative means of preventing excessive seedling elongation instead of relying on chemical plant growth regulators.
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