Artificial light modifies plant growth and defence response

Scientists at Plant & Food Research recently compared the growth and defence responses of radiata pine (Pinus radiata) grown under artificial lights (in a controlled environment) with plants grown in natural light.  

The study found a trade-off between growth and defence. Under natural light, faster growing plants developed greater disease than slower growing plants under artificial light. Additionally, under artificial light, pre-formed chemical defences were present at greater concentrations than in natural light.   

The findings demonstrate that plant physiology and metabolism can be manipulated by modifying the growth environment. Moreover, the potential to manipulate plant defences using light could have future applications for production in controlled environments, particularly where lighting is used (for example in vertical farming systems).

This study was funded jointly by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Enterprise and the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (‘Ecosystem Bioprotection’ LINX0804).

Journal Reference
Reglinski T, Taylor JT, Northcott GL, Ah Chee A, Spiers M, Wohlers M 2019 Growth environment and seedling age affect constitutive and inducible defence in radiata pine. Plant Pathology 68 (8) 1481-1492

For more information:
Plant & Food Research

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