Light Quality Dependent Changes in Morphology, Antioxidant Capacity, and Volatile Production in Sweet Basil

Published August 18 2016, Abstract:
“Narrow-bandwidth light treatments may be used to manipulate plant growth, development and metabolism. In this report LED-based light treatments were used to affect yield and metabolic content of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L. cv ‘Ceasar’) grown in controlled environments. This culinary herb produces an aroma highly appreciated by consumers, primarily composed of terpenes/terpenoids, phenylpropanoids, and fatty-acid- derived volatile molecules. Basil plants were grown under narrow-bandwidth light conditions, and leaf area, height, mass, antioxidant capacity and volatile emissions were measured at various time points. The results indicate reproducible significant differences in specific volatiles, and in biochemical classes of volatiles, compared to greenhouse grown plants. For example, basil plants grown under blue/red/yellow or blue/red/green wavelengths emit higher levels of a subset of monoterpenoid volatiles, while a blue/red/far-red treatment leads to higher levels of most sesquiterpenoid volatile molecules. Specific light treatments increase volatile content, mass, and antioxidant capacity. The results show that narrow-bandwidth illumination can induce discrete suites of volatile classes that affect sensory quality in commercial herbs, and may be useful tools in improving commercial production. ”

Environmentally Modified Organisms – Expanding Genetic Potential with Light

Published June 14 2014, Abstract:
“Light is a potent regulator of plant growth and development, impacting gene expression to global physiology and metabolism. Plants sense a broad range of wavelengths, from UV to far-red, through separate photoreceptors. These light sensors direct adaptive responses under changing environmental conditions and specifically activate precise downstream signaling pathways. Research studies in photobiology, mostly in Arabidopsis thaliana , have characterized light effects on many plant behaviors, along with the genetic mechanisms that control them. Transferring this knowledge to crops has opened a new field in plant science where variation in light quantity, quality, duration or combinations can be used to change plant growth, development or metabolism to influence a desired final product. With the potential of easily being introduced into production chains, and given its safety and relative low cost, this approach can be combined with, or used as an alternative to, breeding or genetic engineering. We review how light has been used in 22 different crop species to manipulate growth characteristics, nutritional value, and yield. We also discuss future opportunities in using light to control produce quality or timing of plant product production.”


Reuters Interviews Dr. Kevin Folta about Plant Whispering