The importance of blue light for leaf area expansion, development of photosynthetic apparatus, and chloroplast ultrastructure of Cucumis sativus grown under weak light

Research paper by X. Y. Wang, X. M. Xu, J. Cui

Indexed on: 04 Dec '14Published on: 04 Dec '14Published in: Photosynthetica


The objective of this study was to evaluate the significance of blue light (B) in the growth and photosynthetic capacity of cucumber. Gas exchange, chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence kinetics, chloroplast ultrastructure, and leaf growth were investigated to explore the influence of three different light qualities of light emitting diodes (LEDs) on plant morphogenesis and the development of photosynthetic apparatus in cucumber (Cucumis sativus) leaves from emergence to full expansion under weak light [50 μmol(photon) m−2 s−1]. We found that B could significantly increase the leaf area (LA), shoot elongation, Chl a/b, net photosynthetic rate, and stomatal conductance (gs). In addition, the comparisons of maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry and the photosynthetic performance index between B-, W (white light)-, and R (red light)-grown leaves suggested that B was essential for the development of photosynthetic apparatus under weak light. B-grown leaves had the lowest Chl content under weak light, however, they had well-developed chloroplasts with the highest degree of stacked lamellae and the lowest starch accumulation. This could explain to a considerable extent the highest net photosynthetic rate per Chl unit. The results demonstrated that B optimized photosynthetic performance by improving the photosynthetic rate, increasing LA, and prolonging active photosynthesis duration under low irradiance. Therefore B is necessary to ensure healthy development of chloroplasts and highly efficient photosynthetic functions in cucumbers under a weak light environment. More importantly, our study also provided theoretical and technical support for the development of light environmental control technology.