Ménage à trois: light, terpenoids, and quality of plants

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In controlled environment agriculture (CEA), light is used to impact terpenoid production and improve plant quality. In this review we discuss various aspects of light as important regulators of terpenoid production in different plant organs. Spectral quality primarily modifies terpenoid profiles, while intensity and photoperiod influence abundances. The central regulator of light signal transduction elongated hypocotyl 5 (HY5) controls transcriptional regulation of terpenoids under UV, red (R), and blue (B) light. The larger the fraction of R and green (G) light, the more beneficial the effect on monoterpenoid and sesquiterpenoid biosynthesis, and such an effect may depend on the presence of B light. A large fraction of R light is mostly detrimental to tetraterpenoid production. We conclude that light is a promising tool to steer terpenoid production and potentially tailor the quality of plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-588
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number5
Early online date16 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • controlled environment agriculture
  • light intensity
  • light spectrum
  • photoperiod
  • quality of plants
  • spectral composition
  • terpenoids


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