The influence of ultraviolet radiation on growth, photosynthesis and phenolic levels of green and red lettuce: potential for exploiting effects of ultraviolet radiation in a production system
Tsormpatsidis, E., Henbest, R. G. C., Battey, N. H. and Hadley, P. (2010) The influence of ultraviolet radiation on growth, photosynthesis and phenolic levels of green and red lettuce: potential for exploiting effects of ultraviolet radiation in a production system. Annals of Applied Biology, 157 (3). pp. 357-366. ISSN 0003-4746
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.2010.00393.x
Studies have shown that natural ultraviolet (UV) radiation increases secondary products such as phenolics but can significantly inhibit biomass accumulation in lettuce plants. In the work presented here, the effect of UV radiation on phenolic concentration and biomass accumulation was assessed in relation to photosynthetic performance in red and green lettuce types. Lettuce plants in polythene clad tunnels were exposed to either ambient (UV transparent film) or UV-free conditions (UV blocking film). The study tested whether growth reduction in lettuce plants exposed to natural UV radiation is because of inhibition of photosynthesis by direct damage to the photosynthetic apparatus or by internal shading by anthocyanins. Ambient levels of UV radiation did not limit the efficiency of photosynthesis suggesting that phenolic compounds may effectively protect the photosynthetic apparatus. Growth inhibition does, however, occur in red lettuce and could be explained by the high metabolic cost of phenolic compounds for UV protection. From a commercial perspective, UV transparent and UV blocking films offer opportunities because, in combination, they could increase plant quality as well as productivity. Growing plants continuously under a UV blocking film, and then 6 days before the final harvest transferring them to a UV transparent film, showed that high yields and high phytochemical content can be achieved complementarily.