an article



ISHS Contact


  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

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.

Download fulltext version How to cite this article       Export citation to RIS format      



  • Baldi, P., Muthuchelian, K., and La Porta, N. (2012). Leaf plasticity to light intensity in Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens L.): Adaptability of a Mediterranean conifer cultivated in the Alps. J. Photoch. Photobio. B117, 61–69.

  • Behera, R.K., and Choudhury, N.K. (2003). High irradiance-induced changes in carotenoid composition and increase in non-photochemical quenching of Chl a fluorescence in primary wheat leaves. J. Plant Physiol. 160(10), 1141–1146.

  • Bjorkman, O., and Demmig, B. (1987). Photon yield of O2 evolution and chlorophyll fluorescence characteristics at 77 K among vascular plants of diverse origins. Planta 170, 489–504.

  • Boccalando, H., Rugnone, M.L., Moreno, J.E., Ploschuk, E.L., Serna, L., Yanovsky, M.J., and Casal, J.J. (2009). Phytochrome B enhances photosynthesis at the expense of water-use efficiency in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 150, 1083–1092.

  • Casal, J.J., and Yanovsky, M.J. (2005). Regulation of gene expression by light. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 49, 501–511.

  • Casierra-Posada, F., Fonseca, E., and Vaughan, G. (2011). Fruit quality in strawberry (Fragaria sp.) grown on colored plastic mulch. Agron. Colomb. 29(3), 407–413.

  • Casierra-Posada, F., Pe-a-Olmos, J., and Ulrichs, C. (2012). Basic growth analysis in strawberry plants (Fragaria sp.) exposed to different radiation environments. Agron. Colomb. 30(1), 25–33.

  • Chartzoulakis, K., Therios, I., and Noitsakis, B. (1995). Effects of shading on gas exchange specific leaf weight and chlorophyll content in four kiwifruit cultivars under field conditions. J. Hortic. Sci. 68(4), 605–611.

  • Chow, W.S., Melis, A., and Anderson, J.M. (1990). Adjustments of photosystem stoichiometry in chloroplasts improve the quantum efficiency of photosynthesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 87, 7502–7506.

  • Dietzel, L., Brautigam, K., and Pfannschmidt, T. (2008). Photosynthetic acclimation: state transitions and adjustment of photosystem stoichiometry – functional relationships between short-term and long-term light quality acclimation in plants. FEBS J. 275, 1080–1088.

  • Eckardt, N.A. (2012). Wavelength dependence of quantum yield for CO2 fixation and photochemical efficiencies of photosystems I and II. Plant Cell 24, 1711.

  • Glime, J.M. (2007). Bryophyte Ecology. Physiological Ecology. Volume I, Chapter 9: light. E-book sponsored by Michigan Technological University and the International Association of Bryologists. In:; Accessed: June, 2014.

  • Gupta, V., and Tripathy, B.C. (2010). Effect of light quality on chlorophyll accumulation and protein expression in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seedlings. Int. J. Biotech. Biochem. 6(4), 521–536.

  • Haldrup, A., Jensen, P.E., Lunde, C., and Scheller, H.V. (2001). Balance of power: A view of the mechanism of photosynthetic state transitions. Trends Plant Sci. 6, 301–305.

  • Hogewoning, S.W., Wientjes, E., Douwstra, P., Trouwborst, G., Van Ieperen, W., Croce, R., and Harbinson, J. (2012). Photosynthetic quantum yield dynamics: From photosystems to leaves. Plant Cell 24(5), 1921–1935.

  • Humbeck, K., Hoffman, B., and Senger, H. (1988). Influence of energy flux and quality of light on the molecular organization of the phytoplankton apparatus in Scenedesmus. Planta 173, 205–212.

  • Izaguirre, M.M., Mazza, C.A., Biondini, M., Baldwin, I.T., and Ballare, C.L. (2006). Remote sensing of future competitors: Impacts on plant defenses. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 103, 7170–7174.

  • Kegge, W., and Pierik, R. (2010). Biogenic volatile organic compounds and plant competition. Trends Plant Sci. 15(3), 126–132.

  • Kim, S.J., Hahn, E.J., Heo, J.W., and Paek, K.Y. (2004). Effects of LEDs on net photosynthetic rate, growth and leaf stomata of Chrysanthemum plantlets in vitro. Sci. Hortic. 101, 143–151.

  • Kopsell, D.A., Kopsell, D.E., and Curran-Celentano, J. (2005). Carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments in sweet basil grown in the field and greenhouse. HortScience 40, 1230–1233.

  • Kurasova, I., Cajanek, M., Kalina, J., and Spunda, V. (2000). Analysis of qualitative contribution of assimilatory and non-assimilatory de-excitation processes to adaptation of photosynthetic apparatus of barley plants to high irradiance. Photosynthetica 38(4), 513–519.

  • Li, H., Tang, C., and Xu, Z. (2013). The effects of different light qualities on rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) plantlet growth and morphogenesis in vitro. Sci. Hortic.-Amsterdam 150, 117–124.

  • Lichtenthaler, H.K., and Lester Packer, R.D. (1987). Chlorophylls and carotenoids: pigments of photosynthetic biomembranes. Methods Enzymol. 148, 350–382.

  • Lin, C. (2000). Plant blue-light receptors. Trends Plant Sci. 5(8), 337–342.

  • Lin, K.H., Huang, M.Y., Huang, W.D., Hsu, M.H., Yang, Z.W., and Yang, C.M. (2013). The effects of red, blue, and white light-emitting diodes on the growth, development, and edible quality of hydroponically grown lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. capitata). Sci. Hortic.-Amsterdam 150, 86–91.

  • Liu, L.X., Chow, W.S., and Anderson, J.M. (2006). Light quality during growth of Tradescantia albiflora regulates photosystem stoichiometry, photosynthetic function and susceptibility to photoinhibition. Physiol. Plantarum 89(4), 854–860.;

  • Martνnez-Garcνa, J.F., Galstyan, A., Salla-Martret, M., Cifuentes-Esquivel, N., Gallemν, M., and Bou-Torrent, J. (2010). Regulatory components of Shade Avoidance Syndrome. Adv. Bot. Res. 53, 65–116.

  • Miller, R.A., and Zalik, S. (1965). Effect of light quality, light intensity and temperature on pigment accumulation in barley seedlings. Plant Physiol. 40(3), 569–574.

  • Miyake, C., Amako, K., Shiraishi, N., and Sugimoto, T. (2009). Acclimation of tobacco leaves to high light intensity drives the plastoquinone oxidation system-relationship among the fraction of open PSII centers, non-photochemical quenching of Chl fluorescence and the maximum quantum yield of PSII in the dark. Plant Cell Physiol. 50(4), 730–743.

  • Morris, S.C., Graham, D., and Lee, T.H. (1979). Phytochrome control of chlorophyll synthesis in potato tubers. Plant Sci. Lett. 17(1), 13–19.

  • Patil, G.G., Oi, R., Gissinger, A., and Moe, R. (2001). Plant morphology is affected by light quality selective plastic films and alternating day and night temperature. Gartenbauwissenschaft 66(2), 53–60.

  • Pyo, Y., Lee, T., Logendra, L., and Rosen, R.T. (2004). Antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds of Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subspecies cycla) extracts. Food Chem. 85(1), 19–26.

  • Rivkin, R.B. (1989). Influence of irradiance and spectral quality on the carbon metabolism of phytoplankton: 1. Photosynthesis, chemical composition and growth. Mar. Ecol. Prog. 55(2-3), 291–304.

  • Saebo, A., Krekling, T., and Applegren, M. (1995). Light quality affects photosynthesis and leaf anatomy of birch plantlets in vitro. Plant Cell Tissue Org. Cult. 41, 177–185.

  • Schmitz-Eiberger, M.A., and Blanke, M. (2013). Reflective mulch enhances ripening and health compounds in apple fruit. J. Sci. Food Agr. 93(10), 2575–2579.

  • Senger, H. (1987). Blue light responses: phenomena and occurrence in plants and microorganisms. CREC Press Inc., Boca Raton. Vol. I. p. 160 and Vol. II. p. 169.

  • Solomakhin, A., and Blanke, M.M. (2008). Coloured hail nets alter light transmission, light spectra, phytochrome as well as vegetative growth, leaf chlorophyll and photosynthesis and reduce flower induction in apple. Plant Growth Regul. 56, 211–218.

  • Solomakhin, A.A., and Blanke, M.M. (2010). The microclimate under coloured hail nets affects leaf and fruit temperature, leaf anatomy, vegetative and reproductive growth as well as fruit colouration in apple. Ann. Appl. Biol. 156, 121–136.

  • Souza, R.P., and Vαlio, I.F.M. (2003). Leaf optical properties as affected by shade in saplings of six tropical tree species differing in successional status. Braz. J. Physiol. 15(1), 49–54.

  • Walters, R.G., Rogers, J.J.M., Shephard, F., and Horton, P. (1999). Acclimation of Arabidopsis thaliana to the light environment: The role of photoreceptors. Planta 209, 517–527.

  • Wang, H., Gu, M., Cui, J., Shi, K., Zhou, Y., and Yu, J. (2009). Effects of light quality on CO2 assimilation, chlorophyll-fluorescence quenching, expression of Calvin cycle genes and carbohydrate accumulation in Cucumis sativus. J. Photochem. Photobiol. B. 96(1), 30–37.

  • Wu, M.C., Hou, C.Y., Jiang, C.M., Wang, Y.T., Wang, C.Y., Chen, H.H., and Chang, H.M. (2007). A novel approach of LED light radiation improves the antioxidant activity of pea seedlings. Food Chem. 101, 1753–1758.

  • Xiong, J., Patil, G.G., Moe, R., and Torre, S. (2011). Effects of diurnal temperature alternations and light quality on growth, morphogenesis and carbohydrate content of Cucumis sativus L. Sci. Hortic.-Amsterdam 128(1), 54–60.

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

previous article     Volume 80 issue 6     next article