Optimal light intensity for sustainable water and energy use in indoor cultivation of lettuce and basil under red and blue LEDs

  • Giuseppina Pennisi /
  • Alessandro Pistillo /
  • Francesco Orsini /
  • Antonio Cellini /
  • Francesco Spinelli /
  • Silvana Nicola /
  • Juan A. Fernandez /
  • Andrea Crepaldi /
  • Giorgio Gianquinto /
  • Leo F.m. Marcelis
Journal ar
Scientia Horticulturae
  • Volumen: 272
  • Fecha: 15 October 2020
  • ISSN: 03044238
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.scienta.2020.109508
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.Indoor plant cultivation systems are gaining increasing popularity because of their ability to meet the needs of producing food in unfavourable climatic contexts and in urban environments, allowing high yield, high quality, and great efficiency in the use of resources such as water and nutrients. While light is one of the most important environmental factors affecting plant development and morphology, electricity costs can limit the widespread adoption of indoor plant cultivation systems at a commercial scale. LED lighting technologies for plant cultivation are also rapidly evolving, and lamps for indoor cultivation are often designed to optimize their light emissions in the photosynthetically active spectrum (i.e. red and blue), in order to reduce energetic requirements for satisfactory yield. Under these light regimens, however, little information is available in literature about minimum photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) for indoor production of leafy vegetables and herbs, while existing literature often adopts light intensities from 100 to 300 ¿mol m-2 s-1. This study aims at defining the optimal PPFD for indoor cultivation of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), by linking resource use efficiency to physiological responses and biomass production under different light intensities. Basil and lettuce plants were cultivated at 24 °C and 450 ¿mol mol-1 CO2 under red and blue light (with red:blue ratio of 3) and a photoperiod of 16 h d-1 of light in growth chambers using five PPFD (100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 ¿mol m-2 s-1, resulting in daily light integrals, DLI, of 5.8, 8.6, 11.5, 14.4 and 17.3 mol m-2 d-1, respectively). A progressive increase of biomass production for both lettuce and basil up to a PPFD of 250 ¿mol m-2 s-1 was observed, whereas no further yield increases were associated with higher PPFD (300 ¿mol m-2 s-1). Despite the highest stomatal conductance associated to a PPFD of 250 ¿mol m-2 s-1 in lettuce and to a PPFD ¿ 200 ¿mol m-2 s-1 in basil, water use efficiency was maximized under a PPFD ¿ 200 ¿mol m-2 s-1 in lettuce and PPFD ¿ 250 ¿mol m-2 s-1 in basil. Energy and light use efficiencies were increased under a PPFD of 200 and 250 ¿mol m-2 s-1 in lettuce and under a PPFD of 250 ¿mol m-2 s-1 in basil. Furthermore, in lettuce grown under 250 ¿mol m-2 s-1 antioxidant capacity, phenolics and flavonoids were higher as compared with plants supplied with PPFD ¿ 150 ¿mol m-2 s-1. Accordingly, a PPFD of 250 ¿mol m-2 s-1 seems suitable for optimizing yield and resource use efficiency in red and blue LED lighting for indoor cultivation of lettuce and basil under the prevailing conditions of the used indoor farming set-up.

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