Viktorija Vaštakaitė-Kairienė – is a senior researcher at the Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry and Nature Research Centre and a young academic vicechair at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. In 2018 defended her PhD thesis, ‘The photophysiological aspects for the management of metabolites and mineral elements in Brassicaceae microgreens’. The main research areas are photophysiology, stress physiology, biochemistry, and postharvest. The research is conducted to determine the physiological response of plants to the spectrum, photon flux density, photoperiod, and frequency of the electric lighting and evaluate crop productivity, contents of secondary metabolites and mineral nutrients, and overall postharvest quality during the storage. The obtained results are used to develop plant lighting technologies in controlled environment horticulture to increase the yield and quality, including nutritional, of leafy vegetables all year round.
Title of presentation: Lighting strategies for improved quality of leafy greens indoors
Global climate change intensifies droughts, rainfall variability, and extreme frost or heat waves. The unpredictable weather conditions lead to uncertain crop yield and economic losses. To obtain fresh and high-quality vegetable production and have economic benefits, more leafy greens are produced in vertical farming systems. In the climate-controlled environment, the natural sunlight and soil are not required, and the high quality of crops can be achieved by controlling carbon dioxide concentration, temperature, air velocity and moisture content, parameters of artificial lighting and composition of a nutrient solution, and refusing the use of chemical plant protection products. The electric lighting sources are used to illuminate the plants indoors. The environmentally-friendly technology of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) has recently gained popularity due to the indisputable advantages over fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lamps. Light parameters can be selected to stimulate plant photoreceptor activity, ensure healthy growth, enhance desired nutritional attributes, and maintain the quality during storage. In the world, and Lithuania, the most of the studies were conducted to evaluate the effects of the LED lighting spectrum, intensity and photoperiod on the development or growth characteristics or accumulation of nutrients, having health-promoting properties for humans, in leafy vegetables (microgreens, lettuces, spinach and basil plants etc.).