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Shading level and harvest time affect the photosynthetic and physiological properties of basil varieties

Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is one of the most important medicinal and aromatic plants. Light intensity is an indispensable factor for plants due to its effect on photosynthesis and physiological processes. Here, the researchers investigated the impact of light intensities and harvesting times on the photosynthesis of green and purple basil. The experiment involved subjecting plants to three different levels of sunlight for 12 days: complete—100%, 50%, and 30%—sunlight.

In addition, they evaluated the impact of harvest time during the day. The highest levels of photosynthetic and protective pigments were detected under full sunlight conditions in purple basil harvested at noon. The highest levels of soluble and storage carbohydrates were recorded in the purple basil grown under full sunlight and harvested during the early morning. By contrast, the lowest levels were obtained in plants grown under 30% sunlight and harvested at noon time. Under all light treatments, the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (FV/FM) was detected at 4 a.m. in both basil varieties; it decreased at noon and increased again at 5 p.m.

Non-Photochemical Quenching (NPQ) was most elevated in the green variety under all light intensities at noon. However, the highest NPQ was detected in the purple variety at 8 a.m. The NPQ was lowest in both basil varieties during the early morning and afternoon. Full sunlight at noon caused temporary photoinhibition and reduced carbohydrates while enhancing pigment concentration and photo-protective mechanisms in basil plants.

Eskandarzade, P.; Zare Mehrjerdi, M.; Didaran, F.; Gruda, N.S.; Aliniaeifard, S. Shading Level and Harvest Time Affect the Photosynthetic and Physiological Properties of Basil Varieties. Agronomy 2023, 13, 2478.

Read the complete paper here.

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