Response of strawberry to the substitution of blue light with green light in a vertical farming system

Indoor production systems with light-emitting diode (LED) lamps are a feasible alternative for increasing strawberry productivity by reducing the incidence of pests and diseases and the damage caused by extreme weather events. Blue (BL) and red (RL) LED light are considered the most important light spectra for photosynthesis and crop yield; however, recent studies have demonstrated that the beneficial effects of green light (GL) have been underestimated. This information would be of particular importance for strawberry production in controlled environments/vertical farming systems as it may lower input costs and enhance production efficiency and quality, and marketability.

The present study aimed to define the effect of GL in combination with BL in strawberries. A proportion of 20% GL (20% BL + 60% RL) of total photosynthetic photon flux density was beneficial for plant growth and productivity; however, a 27% GL (12% BL + 61% RL) proportion was detrimental or comparable to that with 6% GL (36% BL + 58% RF). Total dry mass increased 51% when plants were illuminated with 20% GL lamps compared to those with 6% GL; the most impacted plant part was the root, as it increased by 155%. The higher yield was observed with GL at 20%, but further increasing GL to 27% resulted in reduced yield. GL at 20% and 27% exhibited higher photosynthesis but reduced transpiration, stomatic conductance, and internal CO2, which in turn increased instantaneous and intrinsic water-use efficiency. Plants with the highest yield (20% GL) exhibited lower total soluble solids in fruits, but still, the values obtained were acceptable (8.25 °Brix); these fruits contained a high total sugars and phenolics concentration but a reduced antioxidant scavenging capacity. High proportions of GL were associated with a higher leaf and fruit Ca and a higher leaf P and K, which may be due to the increased allocation of biomass to the roots. In conclusion, GL at 20% and BL at 20% resulted in the best growth and yield parameters, enhanced net photosynthesis rate, water-use efficiency, and fruit quality attributes. The effects of GL observed in this study may also be important for other high-value horticultural crops suitable for indoor vertical farming.

Avendaño-Abarca, V.H.; Alvarado-Camarillo, D.; Valdez-Aguilar, L.A.; Sánchez-Ortíz, E.A.; González-Fuentes, J.A.; Cartmill, A.D. Response of Strawberry to the Substitution of Blue Light by Green Light in an Indoor Vertical Farming System. Agronomy 2023, 13, 99. 

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