As the primary aim of this study, seven basil accessions were characterized for both their growth performance and biochemical profile of volatile compounds, enabling the differentiation among distinct chemotypes.

As secondary objectives, growth performance, and production were evaluated under natural solar radiation conditions (SR100) and with a 30% reduction in solar radiation using a net (SR70). Light use efficiency (LUE) determination revealed the plants’ biomass production capability under different solar radiation (SR) conditions.

Genotypes A, B, C, and G were characterized by high levels of linalool, which is typically associated with the “pesto” sauce smell. Lemon basil D exhibited a different chemotype due to the presence of neral and geranial. E and F displayed a different chemotype due to the higher concentration of α-bergamotene. The total fresh harvested biomass was significantly higher in SR70 than SR100 conditions. The second harvest in both SR conditions was the most productive one, while genotype E under SR70 displayed the highest yield.

The landraces D and E showed the highest LUE values, indicating their capability to convert solar radiation into fresh biomass. Plants grown in SR70 conditions registered significantly higher values of plant height, number of branches, and leaf weight.

This work aimed to provide valuable insights into the selection of basil genotypes suitable for sustainable agriculture. Conversely, it lays the basis for cultivation aspects of the crop’s adaptability in peri-urban, marginal lands, which are characterized by limited solar radiation.

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