Effects of White and Blue-Red Light on Growth and Metabolism of Basil Grown under Microcosm Conditions

Plants (Basel). 2023 Mar 25;12(7):1450. doi: 10.3390/plants12071450.


Indoor farming of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) under artificial lighting to support year-round produce demand is an area of increasing interest. Literature data indicate that diverse light regimes differently affect downstream metabolic pathways which influence basil growth, development and metabolism. In this study, basil was grown from seedlings to fully developed plants in a microcosm, an innovative device aimed at growing plants indoor as in natural conditions. Specifically, the effects of white (W) and blue-red (BR) light under a photosynthetic photon flux density of 255 μmol m-2 s-1 on plant growth, photochemistry, soluble nutrient concentration and secondary metabolism were investigated. Plants grew taller (41.8 ± 5.0 vs. 28.4 ± 2.5 cm) and produced greater biomass (150.3 ± 24.2/14.7 ± 2.0 g vs. 116.2 ± 28.3/12.3 ± 2.5 g fresh/dry biomass) under W light compared to BR light. The two lighting conditions differently influenced the soluble nutrient concentration and the translocation rate. No photosynthetic stress was observed under the two lighting regimes, but leaves grown under W light displayed higher levels of maximum quantum yield of PSII and electron transport rate. Sharp differences in metabolic patterns under the two lighting regimes were detected with higher concentrations of phenolic compounds under the BR light.

Keywords: Chl α fluorescence; LED lighting; indoor farming; plant metabolomics; plant nutrients; precision agriculture.