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  • Author or Editor: Zhengnan Yan x
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Few researchers examined different red light amounts added in white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with varied daily light integrals (DLIs) for hydroponic lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). In this study, effects of DLI and LED light quality (LQ) on growth, nutritional quality, and energy use efficiency of hydroponic lettuce were investigated in a plant factory with artificial lighting (PFAL). Hydroponic lettuce plants (cv. Ziwei) were grown for 20 days under 20 combinations of five levels of DLIs at 5.04, 7.56, 10.08, 12.60, and 15.12 mol·m−2·d−1 and four LQs: two kinds of white LEDs with red to blue ratio (R:B ratio) of 0.9 and 1.8, and two white LEDs plus red chips with R:B ratio of 2.7 and 3.6, respectively. Results showed that leaf and root weights and power consumption based on fresh and dry weights increased linearly with increasing DLI, and light and electrical energy use efficiency (LUE and EUE) decreased linearly as DLI increased. However, no statistically significant differences were found in leaf fresh and dry weights and nitrate and vitamin C contents between DLI at 12.60 and 15.12 mol·m−2·d−1. Also, no effects of LQ on leaf dry weight of hydroponic lettuce were observed at a DLI of 5.04 mol·m−2·d−1. White plus red LEDs with an R:B ratio of 2.7 resulted in higher leaf fresh weight than the two white LEDs. LUE increased by more than 20% when red light fraction increased from 24.2% to 48.6%. In summary, white plus red LEDs with an R:B ratio of 2.7 at DLI at 12.60 mol·m−2·d−1 were recommended for commercial hydroponic lettuce (cv. Ziwei) production in PFALs.

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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.

Open Access