Boosting Strawberry Growth Against Salt with Special Lights

Jim Crocker
9th April, 2024

Boosting Strawberry Growth Against Salt with Special Lights

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Iran, a study found that different LED lights can help strawberries cope with salty or alkaline soil
  • Red and mixed blue/red lights improved the plants' growth and photosynthesis under stress
  • LED lighting could be used to grow stronger plants in challenging soil conditions
Understanding how plants grow and cope with stress is vital for agriculture, especially as environmental challenges become more prevalent. A recent study by researchers at Vali-e-Asr University of Rafsanjan[1] has shed light on how different types of artificial light can influence the growth of strawberry plants under stress from salinity, alkalinity, and a combination of both. Strawberries are a popular fruit, but growing them can be tricky, especially when dealing with soil that is too salty or alkaline. These conditions can harm the plants' ability to perform photosynthesis, the process by which they turn light into the energy they need to grow. The study aimed to find out if changing the color of light the plants receive could help them cope with these stresses. Photosynthesis mainly uses red and blue light. Previous research has shown that red light can boost leaf growth and branching in thyme[2], while blue light increases the production of health-promoting compounds in red lettuce[3]. However, plants also need to manage stress, and light plays a role here too. Light can be a stressor itself, or it can alter how plants respond to other stresses like heat, cold, or drought[4]. The right lighting could potentially make plants more resilient to harsh conditions. In the Vali-e-Asr University study, the researchers grew strawberry plants under five different lighting conditions using LEDs: blue, red, a mix of blue and red, white/yellow, and regular ambient light as a control. They then exposed the plants to three stress conditions: alkalinity, salinity, and a combination of both. These stresses were chosen because they are common problems in agriculture, particularly in arid regions. The results were promising. The different light treatments affected the plants' ability to handle the stress conditions. For instance, red light has been shown to enhance growth[2], which might help plants maintain their photosynthetic performance even when stressed. The study found that certain light spectra could mitigate the negative effects of salinity and alkalinity, helping the plants maintain better growth and photosynthetic activity than they would have under normal light. The use of LEDs is particularly relevant because they are energy-efficient and can be tuned to specific wavelengths, or colors, of light. This means farmers could potentially use LED lighting to improve crop resilience to soil conditions that would otherwise reduce yields. The findings of this study build on earlier research by demonstrating that light not only influences growth and the production of beneficial compounds in plants[2][3] but also plays a role in how plants respond to environmental stresses[4]. It also suggests that the benefits of specific light treatments can vary depending on the type of stress a plant is facing. While the study is a step forward, it is not the final word on the best lighting conditions for growing strawberries or other crops under stress. Each type of stress and plant species might respond differently to various light spectra. More research is needed to fine-tune these lighting strategies and to understand the underlying mechanisms by which light affects plant stress responses. In conclusion, the research from Vali-e-Asr University contributes to a growing body of evidence that controlled lighting can be a powerful tool in agriculture, not just for enhancing growth but also for helping plants deal with challenging environmental conditions. This knowledge could lead to more robust and productive crops, which is increasingly important in a world facing climate change and soil degradation.

AgricultureEnvironmentPlant Science


Main Study

1) Improving strawberry plant resilience to salinity and alkalinity through the use of diverse spectra of supplemental lighting

Published 8th April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Effects of light spectra on morphological characteristics, primary and specialized metabolites of Thymus vulgaris L.

3) Effect of mixed light emitting diode spectrum on antioxidants content and antioxidant activity of red lettuce grown in a closed soilless system.

4) Light acts as a stressor and influences abiotic and biotic stress responses in plants.

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