Growth and morphological response of cucumber seedlings to supplemental red and blue photon flux ratios under varied solar daily light integrals

Ricardo Hernández, Chieri Kubota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


High intensity light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have the potential to be used as supplemental lighting technology in greenhouses. However, LED light quality requirements of greenhouse crops grown when supplementing the solar spectrum are unknown. In this study, to find the requirements, cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Cumlaude) seedlings were grown in a greenhouse with and without supplemental LED lighting (PPF: 54±1.1μmolm-2s-1) at varied blue (400-500nm with the peak at 455nm) and red (600-700nm with the peak at 661nm) photon flux (PF) ratios (B:R ratios) under different solar daily light integrals (DLI). The treatments were 0B:100R% (54μmolm-2s-1 red PF), 4B:96R% (2.3 and 52μmolm-2s-1 blue and red PF, respectively), 16B:84R% (8.5 and 46.2μmolm-2s-1 blue and red PF, respectively), and a control without supplemental lighting. The solar DLIs during the experiment were 5.2±1.2 and 16.2±5.3molm-2d-1 created inside a greenhouse using shade screen. Regardless of B:R ratio, morphological and growth parameters of the seedlings were all improved under supplemental LED lighting compared to the no-supplemental-light control. Under high DLI conditions, no significant differences were found for any parameters between the different B:R ratios. Under low DLI, chlorophyll concentration increased with increasing B:R ratio (i.e., increasing blue PF without increasing photosynthetic photon flux, PPF) of the supplemental lighting. Dry mass, leaf number, and leaf area decreased with increasing B:R ratio under low DLI conditions. The reduction in dry mass and leaf number were attributed to the reduction in leaf area. Leaf net photosynthetic rate measured under ambient CO2, ambient temperature, and 1000μmolm-2s-1 PPF (light source: tungsten halogen lamp) also showed no difference among treatments of B:R ratios, indicating that B:R ratio treatments did not cause any changes in plant photosynthetic apparatus. When used for supplemental lighting in the greenhouse, use of 100% red LED is preferred for cucumber seedlings, and additional blue LED was not beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalScientia Horticulturae
StatePublished - Jun 27 2014


  • B:R ratio
  • Cucumis sativus
  • DLI
  • Greenhouse
  • Light-emitting diode
  • Spectral quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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