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Increased exposure to UV-B radiation during early development leads to enhanced photoprotection and improved long-term performance in Lactuca sativa

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date08/2011
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Journal number8
Volume34
Number of pages13
Pages1401-1413
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Plant responses to solar UV radiation are numerous and have often been considered from a perspective of negative outcomes for plant productivity. In this study, we used two experimental approaches consisting of: (1) field-based spectrally modifying filters in addition to (2) controlled indoor exposure to UV-B, to examine the effects of UV radiation on growth and photosynthetic performance of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seedlings. Various aspects of growth were affected in plants grown under a UV-inclusive environment compared to a UV-depleted environment, including reductions in leaf expansion, increases in leaf thickness and the rate of net photosynthesis. After transplantation to a uniform field environment, lettuce plants initially propagated under the UV-inclusive environment exhibited higher harvestable yields than those from a UV-depleted environment. In controlled conditions, photosynthetic rates were higher in plants grown in the presence of UV-B radiation, and relative growth of plants pre-acclimatized to UV-B was also increased, in addition to higher maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) (F-v/F-m) following subsequent exposure to high photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and temperature stress. Our findings are discussed within the context of sustainability in agriculture and the paradigm shift in photobiology which such beneficial responses to UV radiation could represent.

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