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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 80 (6) 263-270 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2015/80.6.1
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2015 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

Accelerating the growth and increasing the nutritional value of chard (Beta vulgaris L. var. cicla) by applying yellow coloured filters

F. Casierra-Posada1, E. Zapata-Casierra2 and M.M. Blanke3
1Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia – UPTC, Tunja, Colombia
2Faculty of Industrial Engineering, University of Pereira – UTP, Pereira, Colombia
3INRES – Horticultural Science, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

SUMMARY
To study the spectral light effects and enhance health promoting pigmentation in leafy vegetables or salads in a greenhouse in Tunja, Colombia, chard plants were exposed to sunlight filtered through polypropylene films of green, yellow, blue, red colour or transparent (control). Leaves of chard plants growing under coloured covers, developed a higher chlorophyll a/b ratio of 1.6–1.8:1 compared with those grown under transparent cover. The ratio of carotenoids/chlorophyll(a+b) was diminished 7.9–9.5% under yellow, green and blue covers compared to control, while red cover showed no difference with transparent cover. Accumulated dry mass was largest (4.8 g DM) under yellow film than in any other treatment (2.3–2.8 g DM). The present study found that the yellow cover induced better growth judged as dry matter, as compared to the control treatment as a consequence of the different contents on the amount of chlorophyll and carotenoids, as well as the higher photochemical quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm). These results are discussed with relation to the intensity and spectral quality of light, and to the ratio of red/far-red light (660/730 nm). Chard is used here as an example and the results may be transferable to other leafy vegetables or salads.

Keywords carotenoids, dry mass, fluorescence, photomorphogenesis, phytochrome, red/far red ratio

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • Spectral filters, which selectively transmit certain wavelength bands, have also resulted in growth inhibition and other morphological adaptations in several plant species. The plant dry weight, percentage dry matter, number of leaves, branching rate and total leaf area are altered by different light qualities.
What are the new findings?
  • The yellow cover induced better growth in the plants with regard to dry matter, as compared to the control treatment, as a consequence of the different contents of chlorophyll and carotenoids, as well as the higher photochemical quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm).
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • Spectral filters can be used on leafy vegetables as an alternative for chemical growth regulators in order to promote photomorphogenic responses in plants and achieve better plant quality and higher nutritional values for consumers.

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E-mail: fanor.casierra@uptc.edu.co  

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Received: 14 October 2014 | Revised: 8 May 2015 | Accepted: 10 July 2015 | Published: 21 December 2015 | Available online: 21 December 2015

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