Developing Clear Films to Improve Ginseng Growth Using Color Design

Jenn Hoskins
15th March, 2024

Developing Clear Films to Improve Ginseng Growth Using Color Design

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers developed a film to improve light for ginseng farming, mimicking forest conditions
  • The best film mix was found: two yellow and three blue pieces, each 15x15 cm
  • This film increased ginseng leaf size, photosynthesis, root weight, and medicinal compounds
In the realm of agriculture, particularly in the cultivation of crops like Panax ginseng, a plant traditionally grown in the shaded understories of old-growth forests, the challenge is to replicate the unique light conditions found in its natural habitat. Researchers at Jilin Agricultural Science and Technology University have made significant strides in addressing this challenge[1]. Their study focuses on the manipulation of light quality, a crucial factor for plant growth, by using a novel composite film that alternates yellow and blue transparent film pieces. Panax ginseng, also known simply as ginseng, is a valuable medicinal herb, and its growth conditions are vital to its quality and yield. In natural environments, the forest canopy filters sunlight, creating a unique spectrum of light that reaches the forest floor where ginseng thrives. In contrast, farmland ginseng must be cultivated under artificial conditions that attempt to mimic these light qualities to ensure the plants' health and the potency of their medicinal properties. Previous research has established the importance of light quality on plant growth and stress responses. For instance, studies have shown that altering the light spectrum can improve the photosynthetic performance in strawberry plants under salt and alkalinity stress[2], and that the spectrum of light can significantly influence the grafting success and overall health of tomato seedlings[3]. These findings underscore the potential benefits of manipulating light quality in agricultural practices. Building on this knowledge, the Jilin University team developed a composite film that intersperses small pieces of yellow and blue transparent film to alter the light spectrum reaching the ginseng plants. They conducted experiments using an orthogonal array design to test the effects of varying the size of the film pieces and the ratio of yellow to blue film on a range of plant growth parameters. The study found that the size of the film pieces (referred to as the small transparent film area or STFA) primarily affected light intensity, resulting in a decrease overall. Meanwhile, the number of yellow film pieces influenced the light quality ratio, increasing the amount of red light while decreasing blue light, which in turn affected different growth parameters of the ginseng plants. After careful analysis, the researchers optimized the composition of the yellow and blue combination transparent film (YBCTF). The ideal configuration consisted of 15 × 15 cm film pieces, with two pieces of yellow and three pieces of blue film. This optimized film notably improved the plants' use of light energy, leading to increases in leaf area, photosynthetic rate per leaf, dry root weight, and yield of individual ginsenosides, the active compounds in ginseng. The implications of these findings are significant for the agricultural industry. By fine-tuning the light environment, it is possible to enhance the growth and quality of crops like ginseng without the need for expensive or complex technology. This approach can be particularly beneficial for large-scale farming, where cost-effective methods are essential for profitability and sustainability. The research from Jilin Agricultural Science and Technology University not only contributes to our understanding of how light quality impacts plant growth but also offers a practical solution for cultivating ginseng and potentially other crops. It demonstrates how a relatively simple alteration in the light environment can lead to substantial improvements in crop performance, paving the way for more efficient and effective agricultural practices.

BiotechPlant ScienceAgriculture

References

Main Study

1) Creating a new yellow and blue combination transparent film for Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer growth based on orthogonal designs.

Published 15th March, 2024

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e26814


Related Studies

2) Manipulation of light spectrum can improve the performance of photosynthetic apparatus of strawberry plants growing under salt and alkalinity stress.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0261585


3) Effects of light spectrum on morpho-physiological traits of grafted tomato seedlings.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0250210



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