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Growth and nutrient element content of hydroponic lettuce are modified by LED

LED red (R) and blue (B) continuous light (CL) is a potential efficient way to increase plant productivity of plant factory with artificial light (PFAL), but limited information was explored about their effects on plant mineral nutrition.

In an environmentally controlled plant factory with artificial light (PFAL), the effects of CL of different intensities and spectral qualities, emitted by R and B LEDs on growth and nutrient element content and accumulation of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), were conducted in three hydroponic experiments.

Two treatments, normal light (12 h/12 h) and CL (24 h/0 h) in experiment 1, three CL intensities (100, 200 and 300 μmol∙m−2∙s−1) in experiment 2, and three CL light qualities (1R:3B, 1R:1B and 3R:1B) in experiment 3 were designed. The results showed that CL significantly increased the fresh and dry lettuce shoot biomass compared with normal light, and shoot fresh and dry biomass increased with the intensity increment of CL.

In experiment 3, shoot fresh biomass was great under high R light proportion CL treatment, while dry shoot biomass remained unchanged. Both CL and CL with increased intensities promoted shoot C content and accumulation in lettuce. CL reduced N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu and Zn contents in lettuce shoot, while Fe and Mn contents did not change compared to NL. Moreover, CL increased Ca, Fe and Mn accumulation. 100–200 μmol∙m−2∙s−1 CL facilitated N, P, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn contents in shoot, but K content was not influenced compared with 300μmol∙m−2∙s−1.

The data showed that high B light ratio (75%) facilitated C content comparison with low B ratios (50% and 25%). However, lettuce grown under 3R1B treatment had the higher C accumulation. Shoot N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn and Zn contents were higher under 1R1B treatment, and Cu content did not affected by light quality. Moreover, accumulation of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu in shoot was higher under 1R1B treatment, while P, Ca, Mg, Mn accumulation under 3R1B treatment was the lowest.

In conclusion, CL tends to reduce shoot mineral element contents due to dilution effect as shoot dry weight increases compared to NL. However, long‐term (12 days) CL composed of 1R1B, 100–200 μmol∙m−2∙s−1 tends to obtain relative higher K, Ca, Fe and Zn contents in the greater dry lettuce shoot.

Access the full study at Agronomy.

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