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Ki-Ho Son and Myung-Min Oh

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) of short wavelength ranges are being developed as light sources in closed-type plant production systems. Among the various wavelengths, red and blue lights are known to be effective for enhancing plant photosynthesis. In this study, we determined the effects of blue and red LED ratios on leaf shape, plant growth, and the accumulation of antioxidant phenolic compounds of a red leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Sunmang’) and a green leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Grand Rapid TBR’). Lettuce seedlings grown under normal growth conditions (20 °C, fluorescent lamp + high-pressure sodium lamp 177 ± 5 μmol·m−2·s−1, 12-hour photoperiod) for 18 days were transferred into growth chambers that were set at 20 °C and equipped with various combinations of blue (456 nm) and red (655 nm) LEDs [blue:red = 0:100 (0 B), 13:87 (13 B), 26:74 (26 B), 35:65 (35 B), 47:53 (47 B) or 59:41 (59 B)] under the same light intensity and photoperiod (171 ± 7 μmol·m−2·s−1, 12-hour photoperiod). Leaf width, leaf length, leaf area, fresh and dry weights of shoots and roots, chlorophyll content (SPAD value), total phenolic concentration, total flavonoid concentration, and antioxidant capacity were measured at 2 and 4 weeks after the onset of LED treatment. The leaf shape indices (leaf length/leaf width) of the two lettuce cultivars subjected to blue LEDs treatment were similar to the control, regardless of the blue-to-red ratio during the entire growth stage. However, 0 B (100% red LED) induced a significantly higher leaf shape index, which represents elongated leaf shape, compared with the other treatments. Increasing blue LED levels negatively affected lettuce growth. Most growth characteristics (such as the fresh and dry weights of shoots and leaf area) were highest under 0 B for both cultivars compared with all other LED treatments. For red and green leaf lettuce cultivar plants, shoot fresh weight under 0 B was 4.3 and 4.1 times higher compared with that under 59 B after 4 weeks of LED treatment, respectively. In contrast, the accumulation of chlorophyll, phenolics (including flavonoids), and antioxidants in both red and green leaf lettuce showed an opposite trend compared with that observed for growth. The SPAD value (chlorophyll content), total phenolic concentration, total flavonoid concentration, and antioxidant capacity of lettuces grown under high ratios of blue LED (such as 59 B, 47 B, and 35 B) were significantly higher compared with 0 B or control conditions. Thus, this study indicates that the ratio of blue to red LEDs is important for the morphology, growth, and phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties in the two lettuce cultivars tested.

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Ki-Ho Son, Jin-Hui Lee, Youngjae Oh, Daeil Kim, Myung-Min Oh, and Byung-Chun In

This study aimed to determine the effect of changes in light quality on the improvement of growth and bioactive compound synthesis in red-leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Sunmang’) grown in a plant factory with electrical lighting. Lettuce seedlings were subjected to 12 light treatments combining five lighting sources: red (R; 655 nm), blue (B; 456 nm), and different ratios of red and blue light combined with three light-emitting diodes [LEDs (R9B1, R8B2, and R6B4)]. Treatments were divided into control (continuous irradiation of each light source for 4 weeks), monochromatic (changing from R to B at 1, 2, or 3 weeks after the onset of the experiments), and combined (changing from R9B1 to R8B2 or R6B4 at 2 or 3 weeks after the onset of the experiments). Growth and photosynthetic rates of lettuce increased with increasing ratios of red light, whereas chlorophyll and antioxidant phenolic content decreased with increasing ratios of red light. Individual phenolic compounds, including chlorogenic, caffeic, chicoric, and ferulic acids, and kaempferol, showed a similar trend to that of total phenolics. Moreover, transcript levels of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and chalcone synthase (CHS) genes were rapidly upregulated by changing light quality from red to blue. Although the concentration of bioactive compounds in lettuce leaves enhanced with blue light, their contents per lettuce plant were more directly affected by red light, suggesting that biomass as well as bioactive compounds’ accumulation should be considered to enhance phytochemical production. In addition, results suggested that growth and antioxidant phenolic compound synthesis were more sensitive to monochromatic light than to combined light variations. In conclusion, the adjustment of light quality at a specific growth stage should be considered as a strategic tool for improving crop yield, nutritional quality, or both in a plant factory with electrical lighting.

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Sin-Ae Park, Ho-Sang Lee, Kwan-Suk Lee, Ki-Cheol Son, and Candice A. Shoemaker

The metabolic cost of 10 gardening tasks was measured in children to determine the exercise intensities associated with these tasks. Seventeen children [(mean ± sd) aged 12.4 ± 0.7 years and body mass index 21.6 ± 4.0 kg·m−2] participated in this study. The children performed the 10 gardening tasks at a garden previously established in Cheongju, Chungbuk, South Korea. They visited the garden twice and performed five different tasks on each visit. Five minutes were provided to complete each gardening task and a 5-minute rest was allowed between each task. The children wore a portable telemetric calorimeter and a heart rate monitor for measurement of oxygen uptake and heart rate during the gardening tasks. The results show that the 10 gardening tasks represented moderate- to high-intensity physical activity for the children [4.3 ± 0.5 to 6.6 ± 1.6 metabolic equivalents (MET)]. Digging (6.6 ± 1.6 MET) and raking (6.2 ± 1.5 MET) were high-intensity physical activities, and digging was more intense than the other gardening tasks performed in this study (P < 0.05). Tasks such as weeding (5.8 ± 1.1 MET), mulching (5.5 ± 1.3 MET), hoeing (5.3 ± 0.7 MET), sowing seeds (5.0 ± 1.1 MET), harvesting (4.8 ± 0.6 MET), watering (4.6 ± 1.1 MET), mixing growing medium (4.4 ± 0.6 MET), and planting transplants (4.3 ± 0.5 MET) were moderate-intensity physical activities. The MET data for the gardening tasks will facilitate the development of garden-based exercise interventions for children, which can promote health and physically active lifestyle.