Academic article

Impact of pre-harvest light spectral properties on health- and sensory-related compounds in broccoli florets

Steindal, Anne Linn Hykkerud; Johansen, Tor Jacob; Bengtsson, Gunnar; Hagen, Sidsel Fiskaa; Mølmann, Jørgen

Publication details

Journal: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, vol. 96, p. 1974–1981–8, 2016

Issue: 6

International Standard Numbers:
Printed: 0022-5142
Electronic: 1097-0010

Open Access: none


Plants grown at different latitudes experience differences in light spectral composition. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var italica) plants were grown in climate-controlled chambers under supplemental wavelengths (red, far-red, red + far-red or blue) from light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The light treatments were combined with two cold climate temperatures (12 and 15 °C) during broccoli head formation to investigate the effects on morphology and content of health- and sensory-related compounds: glucosinolates, flavonols, ascorbic acid and soluble sugars.

Supplemental far-red and red + far-red light led to elongated plants and the lowest total glucosinolate content in broccoli florets. The content of quercetin was highest with supplemental red light. Vitamin C was not significantly affected by the light treatments, but 12 °C gave a higher content than 15 °C.

The effects of supplemental red and far-red light suggest an involvement of phytochromes in the regulation of glucosinolates and flavonols. A shift in red:far-red ratio could cause changes in their content besides altering the morphology. The sugar and vitamin C content appears to be unaffected by these light conditions. Supplemental blue light had little effect on plant morphology and content of the health- and sensory related compounds.