© 2016 Carvalho, Schwieterman, Abrahan, Colquhoun and Folta. Narrow-bandwidth light treatments may be used to manipulate plant growth, development and metabolism. In this report LED-based light treatments were used to affect yield and metabolic content of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L. cv “Ceasar”) grown in controlled environments. This culinary herb produces an aroma highly appreciated by consumers, primarily composed of terpenes/terpenoids, phenylpropanoids, and fatty-acid-derived volatile molecules. Basil plants were grown under narrow-bandwidth light conditions, and leaf area, height, mass, antioxidant capacity and volatile emissions were measured at various time points. The results indicate reproducible significant differences in specific volatiles, and in biochemical classes of volatiles, compared to greenhouse grown plants. For example, basil plants grown under blue/red/yellow or blue/red/green wavelengths emit higher levels of a subset of monoterpenoid volatiles, while a blue/red/far-red treatment leads to higher levels of most sesquiterpenoid volatile molecules. Specific light treatments increase volatile content, mass, and antioxidant capacity. The results show that narrow-bandwidth illumination can induce discrete suites of volatile classes that affect sensory quality in commercial herbs, and may be a useful tool in improving commercial production.
Carvalho, S. D., Schwieterman, M. L., Abrahan, C. E., Colquhoun, T. A., & Folta, K. M. (2016). Light Quality Dependent Changes in Morphology, Antioxidant Capacity, and Volatile Production in Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum). Frontiers in Plant Science, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2016.01328