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  • Author or Editor: Yufeng Liu x
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Lighting strategies for morphological and physiological characteristics of horticultural crops often focus on the proper daily light integral (DLI); however, a suitable combination of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and photoperiod at the same DLI is conducive to optimize the light environment management in vegetable seedling production. In the present study, cucumber seedlings (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Tianjiao No. 5) were grown for 21 days under six different combinations of PPFD and photoperiod at a constant DLI of 11.5 mol⋅m−2⋅d−1, corresponding to a photoperiod of 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, and 22 h⋅d−1 provided by white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) under a controlled environment. Results showed that plant height, hypocotyl length, and specific leaf area of cucumber seedlings decreased quadratically with increasing photoperiod, and the opposite trend was observed in seedling quality index of cucumber seedlings. In general, pigment content and fresh and dry weight of cucumber seedlings increased as photoperiod increased from 7 to 16 h⋅d−1, and no significant differences were found in fresh and dry weight of shoot and root as photoperiod increased from 16 to 22 h⋅d−1. Sucrose and starch content of cucumber leaves increased by 50.6% and 32.3%, respectively, as photoperiod extended from 7 to 16 h⋅d−1. A longer photoperiod also led to higher cellulose content of cucumber seedlings, thus improving the mechanical strength of cucumber seedlings for transplanting. CsCesA1 relative expression level showed a trend similar to cellulose content. We propose that CsCesA1 is the key gene in the response to cellulose biosynthesis in cucumber seedlings grown under different combinations of PPFD and photoperiod. In summary, prolonging the photoperiod and lowering PPFD at the same DLI increased the quality of cucumber seedlings. An adaptive lighting strategy could be applied to increase seedling quality associated with the reduction of capital cost in cucumber seedling production.

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