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  • Author or Editor: Helle Sørensen x
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There is increasing use of electricity for supplemental lighting in the northern European greenhouse industry. One reason for this may be to secure a high growth rate during low-light periods by an attempt to increase net photosynthesis. We wanted to clarify which period of the day resulted in the best use of a 5-h supplemental light period for photosynthesis and growth. The periods tested were supplemental light during the night, day, morning, and evening. The experiments were carried out in daylight climate chambers measuring canopy gas exchange. The air temperature was 25 °C and the CO2 level ≈900 ppm. Vegetative chrysanthemum was used, because this species responds quickly to change in light level. The leaf areas of the plant canopies were nondestructively measured each week during the 4-week experimental period. The fact that the quantum yield of photosynthesis is greater at low than at high light intensities favors the use of supplemental light during the dark period, but growth measured as dry weight of the treated plants at the end of the experiments was not significantly different given identical light integrals of the treatments. However, one experiment indicated that increased time with dark hours during day and night (24 h) might decrease net photosynthesis. The assimilation per unit leaf area was approximately the same during times of sunlight through a diffusing screen at 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) as during times of supplemental (direct) light application at PPF of 200 μmol·m−2·s−1 by high-pressure sodium lamps. We conclude that during the winter and periods of low light intensities, the daily carbon gain does not depend on the time of supplemental light application, but is linked to the total light integral. However, extended time with dark hours during day and night (24 h) might be a disadvantage because of longer periods with dark respiration and subsequent loss of carbon. Our results indicate that during times of low light conditions, it is not necessary to include factors such as the timing of supplemental lighting application to achieve higher net photosynthesis in climate control strategies.

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