Effects of blue and red LED lights on soilless cultivated strawberry growth performances and fruit quality
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The use of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) for protected cultures is quickly growing during the last years. Recent researches have demonstrated that it is possible to use LEDs alone and in combination with other lighting systems to manipulate plant behavior, productivity and crop quality. Nevertheless, our knowledge on the use of single color LEDs to control plant growth and yield is still scarce. In our experiment, the effects of three different lighting systems (LED blue, LED red and fluorescence neon tubes as control) on soilless cultivated strawberry growth and fruit quality were evaluated. Results showed that LED blue light (400-500 nm) induced a higher biomass accumulation, especially at root and crown level. Moreover, LED blue treated plants showed a 25% enhanced fruit set that caused a relevant higher final yield (65 g plant-1) as compared to control and red LED treated plants (45 and 35 g plant-1 respectively). Fruit main quality traits were not modified by treatments, the only differences being in fruit color (blue and red LED treated strawberries showed a less saturated color) and anthocyanin concentration (lower level of pelargonidin-3-glucoside in both blue and red LED treated fruits as compared to the control ones). Based on these results we suggest that the use of blue light can be feasible to enhance yield, while maintaining fruit quality, in protected strawberry cultivation systems.