Does tomato breeding for improved performance under LED supplemental lighting make sense?

Aina E. Prinzenberg, Hanneke van der Schoot, Olivier van Deth, Theoharis Ouzounis, Suzan Gabriëls, Fien Meijer-Dekens, Leo F.M. Marcelis, Richard G.F. Visser, Ep Heuvelink, Henk J. Schouten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Differences in growth have been reported for tomato under LED compared to HPS light, however, it is not clear if breeding specific for LED supplemental light is worthwhile. Therefore, we derived four recombinant inbred line (RIL) tomato populations from parents with contrasting growth responses to different light spectra. These RIL populations were grown for four weeks under supplemental HPS or 95% red and 5% blue LED light in the greenhouse. For one population we also studied fruit production. Plant height and size of the side shoots of the young plants were strongly reduced under LED supplemental lighting compared to HPS in all populations. The adult plants showed shorter internode lengths, less trusses, less fruits, and lower yield of ripe fruits per plant under LED. However, when the unripe fruits at the last harvest day were included, the difference in yield between HPS and LED disappeared, indicating that the plants under LED light were compacter and slower in development, but in the end produced similar yield. We found numerous QTL, but hardly any of these QTL appeared to be significantly LED-specific. Also, we found very significant genetic effects of maternally inherited plastids and mitochondria, showing the importance of using a parental genotype as mother or as father. However, these effects were very similar between the two light conditions. We conclude that our study does not justify tomato breeding programs that are specifically targeted at 95% red and 5% blue LED supplemental lighting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • HPS
  • LED
  • Maternally inherited plastids
  • QTL
  • Side shoots
  • Tomato


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