Plant productivity and product quality ultimately are dependent on an interaction between genetics and environment, and one of the most important environmental cues is light. Light quantity, quality, and duration provide critical information to plants that mediate growth and development. Light signal transduction is dependent on a series of photoreceptors and their associated signaling pathways that direct intracellular processes that lead to changes in gene expression that ultimately affect plant form, function, and content.
For the last several decades, scientists have dissected these signaling pathways and understand how they connect the environment to a response. The advent of narrow-bandwidth illumination in commercial lighting invites the opportunity to manipulate plant behavior and productivity through precise alteration of the ambient spectrum. This review describes the biochemical links that convert incident light into predictable changes in plant growth and development. These sensors and pathways serve as biochemical switches that can be selectively toggled to control plant growth, development, physiology, or metabolite accumulation.