Table_1_Alternating Red and Blue Light-Emitting Diodes Allows for Injury-Free Tomato Production With Continuous Lighting.docx

Plant biomass is largely dictated by the total amount of light intercepted by the plant [daily light integral (DLI) — intensity × photoperiod]. Continuous light (CL, 24 h lighting) has been hypothesized to increase plant biomass and yield if CL does not cause any injury. However, lighting longer than 18 h causes leaf injury in tomato characterized by interveinal chlorosis and yield is no longer increased with further photoperiod extension in tomatoes. Our previous research indicated the response of cucumbers to long photoperiod of lighting varies with light spectrum. Therefore, we set out to examine greenhouse tomato production under supplemental CL using an alternating red (200 µmol m−2 s−1, 06:00–18:00) and blue (50 µmol m−2 s−1, 18:00–06:00) spectrum in comparison to a 12 h supplemental lighting treatment with a red/blue mixture (200 µmol m−2 s−1 red + 50 µmol m−2 s−1 blue, 06:00–18:00) at the same DLI. Our results indicate that tomato plants grown under supplemental CL using the red and blue alternating spectrum were injury-free. Furthermore, parameters related to photosynthetic performance (i.e., Pnmax, quantum yield, and Fv/Fm) were similar between CL and 12 h lighting treatments indicating no detrimental effect of growth under CL. Leaves under CL produced higher net carbon exchange rates (NCER) during the subjective night period (18:00–06:00) compared to plants grown under 12 h lighting. Notably, 53 days into the treatment, leaves grown under CL produced positive NCER values (photosynthesis) during the subjective night period, a period typically associated with respiration. At 53 days into the growth cycle, it is estimated that leaves under CL will accumulate approximately 800 mg C m−2 more than leaves under 12 h lighting over a 24 h period. Leaves grown under CL also displayed similar diurnal patterns in carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose, and starch) as leaves under 12 h lighting indicating no adverse effects on carbohydrate metabolism under CL. Taken together, this study provides evidence that red and blue spectral alternations during CL allow for injury-free tomato production. We suggest that an alternating spectrum during CL may alleviate the injury typically associated with CL production in tomato.