Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 275–285 | Cite as

Alternating high and low intensity of blue light affects PSII photochemistry and raises the contents of carotenoids and anthocyanins in pepper leaves

  • Anna M. Hoffmann
  • Georg Noga
  • Mauricio Hunsche
Original paper


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the morphological and physiological response of pepper plants (Capsicum annuum L.) as affected by different light regimes. In this context, we hypothesized that the illumination with proportionally high blue light under low light conditions induces stress-related responses and leads to stronger accumulation of protective pigments. For this purpose, pepper plants of the cultivar Yolo Wonder B were cultivated in a climate chamber under compact fluorescence lamps (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED). Light provided by LEDs was composed by either 15 or 75 % of blue, and completed by red light. In general, high blue light led to a stronger increase in heat dissipation, whereas the maximal photochemical efficiency remained almost unaffected. Biomass formation was lower under the LED light as compared to plants grown under CFL. However, different amounts of blue light did not impact plant morphological parameters such as stem length, leaf area and plant FM. Concentration of Chl a + b was significantly higher in plants grown under CFL, whereas the Chl a/Chl b ratio and leaf mass per area were increased under the LED treatments. In general, plants grown under blue and red LEDs accumulated significantly more flavonoids compared to plants grown under CFL. Additionally, the illumination with high blue light increased the synthesis and accumulation of anthocyanins and carotenoids, whereas flavonoid contents were not affected.


Capsicum annuum L. Chlorophyll fluorescence Light acclimation LEDs Plant performance 





Area of interest




Chlorophyll fluorescence


Compact fluorescence lamps


Days after sowing


Dry mass


Electron transport rate


Epidermal flavonols


Fresh mass


Maximum chlorophyll fluorescence of dark adapted leaf


Maximum chlorophyll fluorescence in the light adapted state


Ground chlorophyll fluorescence of dark adapted leaf


Variable chlorophyll fluorescence of dark adapted leaf


Maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II


Light emitting diodes


Leaf mass per area


Non photochemical quenching


Non significant


Photosynthetic active radiation



The authors thank Mr. Toshihiko Oishi, Ushio Europe B.V. (The Netherlands), and the group of technical engineers from Ushio Lighting Inc. (Japan) for developing and making the LED panels available for this study. Many thanks to Libeth Schwager for her support in pigment analysis, and to Brigitta Teschner and Judith Spielmanns for their assistance during the experimental phase. Finally, we acknowledge the Theodor-Brinkmann-Graduate School (Faculty of Agriculture, University of Bonn) for providing a scholarship to the first author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation – Horticultural ScienceUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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