Red and blue light have great effects on physiological processes and growth of plants. A new experiment investigated the physiological and growth response of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) to supplementary red:blue (4:1) light for 1 h (T1), 3 h (T2), and 5 h (T3), and the full-spectrum light-emitting diodes, LEDs, as control (CK). Thirty-day-old seedlings were grown under these treatments for 20 days in a climate-controlled room before data measurement.
The results showed that the light treatments significantly (p < 0.05) affected the photosynthesis and growth indexes as well as gene expression in the pepper seedlings. Plants under T2 generally had better performance in terms of seedling growth. A total of 124, 1283, and 1091 differentially expressed genes were found in CK vs. T1, CK vs. T2, and CK vs. T3, respectively.
Among the treatments, T2 in comparison with CK had 705 upregulated and 578 downregulated differentially expressed genes (DEGs). The researchers also found that CPRF2, Paggis, HLIPS, GIGANTEA, LSH1, and FTSH genes were expressed differently under the various light treatments. Based on GeneOntology (GO) enrichment analysis, DEGs were significantly enriched on 15 GO terms of which xyloglucan:xyloglucosyl transferase activity and apoplastic, cellular polysaccharide metabolic, and cellular carbohydrate metabolic processes were closely related to light responses.
A total of 96 genes that are related to plant–pathogen interaction, zeatin biosynthesis, plant hormone signal transduction, and wax/cutin/suberine biosynthesis which are involved in the pathway of light reaction in plants were significantly enriched in T2 plants compared with plants under CK. The application of red:blue light at 4:1 for 3 h improved the growth of pepper seedlings better than the other treatments and this can be tested under the Chinese Solar Greenhouse condition.