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  • Author or Editor: Ryosuke Endo x
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The light competition in dense plant stands may be disadvantageous in transplant production because competition stimulates stem elongation and can reduce photosynthate allocation to leaves; this, in turn, may reduce the early growth rate after transplanting. In this study, we focused on how the proportion of far-red (FR) light affected light competition among cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) seedlings and investigated the effects of the plant density × FR interaction on photosynthate allocation and subsequent early growth after transplanting. Seedlings at the cotyledon stage were planted into plug trays at densities ranging from 109 to 1736 plants/m2; then they were grown for 4 days under light-emitting diode (LED) light containing FR light (FR+) at approximately the same red-to-FR ratio as in sunlight (1.2) or under light containing no FR (FR−). The higher density significantly stimulated stem elongation under both FR+ and FR−, but the effect was small under FR−; this indicates that light competition in the dense stands was inhibited by reducing FR light. The higher plant density significantly increased photosynthate allocation to the stem and decreased allocation to the leaves under both FR+ and FR−; however, again, the effect was smaller under FR−. After transplanting the seedlings to pots, early growth decreased in the seedlings that allocated less photosynthate to their leaves. Our results indicate that light with reduced FR can mitigate the disadvantageous photosynthate allocation of transplants and the reduction of early growth after transplanting that are likely to occur as a result of light competition at high plant density.

Open Access

Light with a higher red to far-red ratio (R:FR) than sunlight reduces plant growth, but the cause has not been firmly established. In the present study, cucumber seedlings were grown under normal light (similar to sunlight; R:FR = 1.4) from metal-halide lamps or high-R:FR light (R:FR = 4.3) created by transmitting their light through FR-absorbing film, and then their growth parameters and photosynthesis were compared. The relative growth rate (RGR) at high R:FR was 92% of that under normal R:FR, although the net assimilation rate (NAR) did not differ between the treatments, indicating that changes in net photosynthesis per unit leaf area did not cause the growth inhibition at high R:FR. The CO2 exchange per unit leaf area did not differ between the treatments, which supports this hypothesis. The leaf area ratio (LAR) of total plant dry weight of high R:FR seedlings to that of normal R:FR seedlings was also 92%. This suggests that growth suppression in the high R:FR seedlings was caused mainly by decreased LAR. The specific leaf area (SLA) and leaf weight ratio (LWR), components of LAR, under high-R:FR light were 89% and 105%, respectively, of those under normal light, indicating that the smaller LAR at high R:FR mainly results from suppressed leaf enlargement per unit leaf dry matter.

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The development of powdery mildew fungus (Podosphaera xanthii) is suppressed on cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) seedlings acclimatized to higher red-to-far-red ratio (R:FR) than natural R:FR (≈1.2), but its early development and any limiting factors are still unclear. The present study evaluated conidial germination, initial invasion, and subsequent development of P. xanthii on cucumber seedlings raised under light-emitting diode (LED) lights with R:FRs of 1.2, 5.0, or 10. There were no differences in conidial germination or initial invasion between the treatments, so there was no effect of acclimatization to R:FR on either. But, the development of hyphae, hyphal cells, and haustoria after inoculation were suppressed on seedlings acclimatized to higher R:FR. Because differences occurred only after the initial invasion, nonstructural properties of the host leaves may have affected conidial development. Higher R:FR also suppressed conidial development under natural light filtered through a photo-selective film, which absorbs near-infrared (NIR)-light. However, this effect was reduced when the plants were moved to natural R:FR after inoculation, possibly because of reacclimatization of the seedlings.

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The present study evaluated the development of powdery mildew fungus (Podosphaera xanthii) on leaves of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) acclimatized to different CO2 concentrations ([CO2]) to examine plant–pathogen interactions under the wide range of [CO2] that can occur in greenhouse cultivation. Seedlings of resistant and nonresistant cultivars were acclimatized to reduced (200 µmol·mol−1), ambient (400 µmol·mol−1), or elevated (1000 µmol·mol−1) [CO2]. Powdery mildew spores were inoculated onto the adaxial surface of cotyledons or first true leaves, and colonization was measured after 7 days. Colony density decreased as acclimatization [CO2] increased at the cotyledon stage but increased at the first-true-leaf stage in both cultivars. This result implies that when the effects of [CO2] on plant–pathogen interactions are described, growing stage must be specified. The acclimatization [CO2] was correlated positively with leaf mass per area, dry matter content, and carbon (C) content and negatively with nitrogen (N) content at both stages. Therefore, these leaf properties could not explain the changes in host-plant susceptibility between stages. The effect of acclimatization [CO2] was greater on the resistant cultivar than on the nonresistant cultivar, indicating that the resistant cultivar was more responsive.

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We investigated the effects of fluorescent illumination with a high red-to-far-red ratio (R:FR) on the resistance of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings to powdery mildew fungus (Sphaerotheca cucurbitae; PM). Seedlings were grown at a photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 300 μmol·m−2·s−1 provided by fluorescent lamps with high R:FR light (R:FR = 7.0; FLH) or low R:FR light (R:FR = 1.1; FLL) until cotyledons or the first foliage leaf were fully expanded. Spores of PM were then inoculated onto the leaves, and the seedlings were grown for 7 days (from cotyledon stage) or 9 days (from foliage–leaf stage) under FLH. The number of PM colonies on FLH seedlings was 0.80× (cotyledons) and 0.62× (foliage leaves) the number on FLL seedlings. The reduction on the FLH seedlings was probably the result of changes in leaf morphological characteristics such as a thicker epidermal tissue as a result of the higher R:FR illumination. The number of PM colonies on cotyledons of the FLH seedlings was also smaller than that on seedlings grown under metal-halide lamps providing a spectrum similar to that of natural light (R:FR = 1.2).

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To evaluate the effect of fluorescent lamps with a high red:far-red (R:FR) light on the potential photosynthesis of transplants, we investigated the photosynthetic light responses of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) seedlings grown under fluorescent lamps with high R:FR light (FLH) and compared them with the responses of the seedlings grown under metal-halide lamps (ML) that provided a spectrum similar to that of natural light and under a fluorescent lamp with low R:FR light (FLL). The seedlings were grown under FLH (R:FR = 7.0), ML (R:FR = 1.2), or FLL (R:FR = 1.1) at a photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 350 μmol·m−2·s−1. The gross photosynthetic rate (Pg), quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII), and photosynthetic electron transfer rate (ETR) of the foliage leaves were then evaluated at PPFDs ranging from 0 to 1000 μmol·m−2·s−1. The photosynthetic light response of FLH seedlings was similar to those of sun leaves, and the responses of ML and FLL seedlings were similar to those of shade leaves. The Pg, ETR, and ΦPSII of FLH seedlings at PPFD of 1000 μmol·m−2·s−1 was 1.38, 1.32, and 1.28 times, respectively, those of ML seedlings, and was 1.40, 1.23, and 1.22 times, respectively, those of FLL seedlings. The Pg was closely correlated with ETR in each treatment. FLH seedlings had thicker leaf and greater chlorophyll content per leaf area than ML and FLL seedlings. The greater Pg of FLH seedlings than in the other two groups of seedlings at high PPFD was probably the result of the improved ETR resulting from physiological and morphological changes in response to the high R:FR light.

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We evaluated the preference of adult sweetpotato whitefly [SPWF (Bemisia tabaci biotype B)] to cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings grown under fluorescent lamps (FLs) or metal-halide lamps (MLs) that provided a spectrum similar to that of natural light. Cucumber seedlings were grown under FLs or MLs at a photosynthetic photon flux of 350 μmol·m−2·s−1 in a 12/12-hour light/dark cycle. The red:far red (R:FR) ratio of FL was 7.0 and that of ML was 1.2. Pairs of cucumber seedlings, one grown under FLs and the other under MLs, were then placed in cages and about 100 SPWF adults were released. There were significantly fewer SPWF adults on the FL cucumber seedlings (36%) than on the ML seedlings (64%) 24 hours after release. FL cucumber seedlings had higher chlorophyll content and thicker leaves than ML seedlings. The lower attractiveness of the FL cucumber seedlings was probably due to changes in morphologic characteristics such as the leaf color and thickness resulting from high R:FR illumination of FL. The fact that light quality affects the plant attractiveness to herbivores should be considered in selecting light sources for transplant production under artificial light.

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