Far-red radiation increases dry mass partitioning to fruits but reduces Botrytis cinerea resistance in tomato

Yongran Ji, Theoharis Ouzounis, Sarah Courbier, Elias Kaiser, Phuong T. Nguyen, Henk J. Schouten, Richard G.F. Visser, Ronald Pierik, Leo F.M. Marcelis*, Ep Heuvelink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The addition of far-red (FR, 700–800 nm) radiation to standard growth light triggers a set of photomorphogenic responses collectively termed shade avoidance syndrome. Recent research showed that additional FR increased fruit yield in greenhouse tomato production. However, the mechanism behind this increase is not clear; nor is it known whether there is a trade-off between growth and defense against plant diseases in tomato under additional FR. The aims of this study were 1) to quantify the effect of additional FR on tomato fruit growth, 2) to explain this effect based on underlying growth components and 3) to examine the FR effect on resistance against the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Moneymaker’) plants were grown for four months with 30 or 50 μmol m−2 s−1 of FR added to 150 μmol m−2 s−1 red + blue or white background LED lighting. Growth and development parameters were recorded, and a growth component analysis was conducted. Bioassays for resistance against B. cinerea were conducted on leaf samples collected from each light treatment. Additional FR increased total fruit dry mass per plant by 26–45%. FR affected multiple growth components, among which the fraction of dry mass partitioned to fruits was the most prominent with a 15–35% increase. Truss appearance rate was increased 11–14% by FR while instantaneous net photosynthesis rate was not affected. FR also resulted in more severe disease symptoms upon infection with B. cinerea. In conclusion, additional FR increases tomato fruit production mainly by increasing dry mass partitioning to fruits, rather than improving photosynthesis or increasing total plant biomass. However, FR also reduces resistance of tomato leaves against B. cinerea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103889
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Volume168
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Botrytis cinerea
  • Dry mass partitioning
  • Far red
  • Growth component analysis
  • LED lighting
  • Solanum lycopersicum

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