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Kun Li, Qi-Chang Yang, Yu-Xin Tong and Ruifeng Cheng

In this study, the effects of light-emitting diode (LED) panels with different illumination schedules and mounted above butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. capitata) seedlings on lettuce growth and photosynthesis were examined, and the performance of the vertical and horizontal movable system on energy savings was evaluated. The illumination schedules used were fixed LED [F-LED (four LED panels illuminated the area below)] and movable LED [M-LED (two LED panels moved left and right once per day to illuminate the same area as F-LED)] at distances of 10 and 30 cm above the seedlings. The plant yields were uniform in all LED treatments. The highest light utilization efficiencies and lowest electricity consumption were found for the treatments with irradiation from a shorter distance above the seedlings. The true leaf numbers and ascorbic acid concentrations were the highest in the M-LED and F-LED treatments at a distance above the seedlings of 10 cm, while the leaf lengths and sucrose concentrations in these groups were significantly lower than those in the 30-cm treatment. These results indicate that illumination with M-LED can halve the initial light source input while maintaining yield and that sustained illumination from a shorter distance above the seedlings is the main factor in electricity savings.

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Zhong-Hua Bian, Rui-Feng Cheng, Qi-Chang Yang, Jun Wang and Chungui Lu

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have shown great potential for plant growth and development, with higher luminous efficiency and more flexible and feasible spectral control compared with other artificial lighting. The combined effects of red and blue (RB) LED with or without green (G) LED light and white LED light on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) growth and physiology, including nitrate content, chlorophyll fluorescence, and phytochemical concentration before harvest, were investigated. Continuous light exposure at preharvest can effectively reduce nitrate accumulation and increase phytochemical concentrations in lettuce plants. Nitrate accumulation is dependent on the spectral composition and duration of treatment: lettuce exposed to continuous RB (with or without G) LED light with a photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 200 µmol·m−2·s−1 exhibited a remarkable decrease in nitrate content at 24 hour compared with white LED light treatment at the same PPF. In addition, RB LED light (R:B = 4:1) was more effective than white LED light at the same PPF in facilitating lettuce growth. Moreover, continuous LED light for 24 hours significantly enhanced free-radical scavenging activity and increased phenolic compound concentrations. We suggest that 24 hours continuous RB LED with G light exposure can be used to decrease nitrate content and enhance lettuce quality.

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Soohyun Kang, Yating Zhang, Yuqi Zhang, Jie Zou, Qichang Yang and Tao Li

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 (g S) 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) (F v/F m) 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.