Ultraviolet LEDs Enhance Lettuce Nutrients

Valerie Coffey

Sientists have found that applying supplemental ultraviolet-B radiation to red-leaf lettuce increases the production of polyphenolic compounds and possibly the storage lifetime of the chemicals.

Scatterings imageExposing red-leaf lettuce to UV-LED lights results in an enhanced red “tan” from anthocyanin accumulation. Plants were exposed continuously for 48 hours at 23° C at 10 mW m-2 with background low-pressure sodium illumination: (a) unexposed control plant, (b) 282 nm light, (c) 296 nm light and (d) 308 nm light.

Can exposing our food to low-energy light-emitting diodes (LEDs) improve its nutritional quality? A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says yes. Greenhouse cultivation allows high-quality, local produce all year long, but most greenhouse coverings filter out the short ultraviolet wavelengths from the solar spectrum, decreasing the synthesis and accumulation of some nutrients.

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Publish Date: 01 September 2009

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