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Physiol Plant. 2010 Mar;138(3):289-300. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2009.01333.x. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

The responses of light interception, photosynthesis and fruit yield of cucumber to LED-lighting within the canopy.

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Department of Plant Sciences, Horticultural Supply Chains Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands.


Mathematical models of light attenuation and canopy photosynthesis suggest that crop photosynthesis increases by more uniform vertical irradiance within crops. This would result when a larger proportion of total irradiance is applied within canopies (interlighting) instead of from above (top lighting). These irradiance profiles can be generated by Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). We investigated the effects of interlighting with LEDs on light interception, on vertical gradients of leaf photosynthetic characteristics and on crop production and development of a greenhouse-grown Cucumis sativus'Samona' crop and analysed the interaction between them. Plants were grown in a greenhouse under low natural irradiance (winter) with supplemental irradiance of 221 micromol photosynthetic photon flux m(-2) s(-1) (20 h per day). In the interlighting treatment, LEDs (80% Red, 20% Blue) supplied 38% of the supplemental irradiance within the canopy with 62% as top lighting by High-Pressure Sodium (HPS)-lamps. The control was 100% top lighting (HPS lamps). We measured horizontal and vertical light extinction as well as leaf photosynthetic characteristics at different leaf layers, and determined total plant production. Leaf mass per area and dry mass allocation to leaves were significantly greater but leaf appearance rate and plant length were smaller in the interlighting treatment. Although leaf photosynthetic characteristics were significantly increased in the lower leaf layers, interlighting did not increase total biomass or fruit production, partly because of a significantly reduced vertical and horizontal light interception caused by extreme leaf curling, likely because of the LED-light spectrum used, and partly because of the relatively low irradiances from above.

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