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Artificial light, supplied by fluorescent lamps, has been effectively utilized in controlled- environment chambers for horticulture and floriculture nursery. This experiment aimed at investigating whether light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have the same effectiveness on plant morphology, photosynthetic and physiological responses as FLUORA lamps. Seedlings of common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), species of high interest for their nutraceutical properties, were grown in controlled-environment chambers for 50 days under LED and FLUORA light sources as sole-source lighting systems, and the effects of artificial light supplies on plant photosynthetic performance and chlorophyll content (SPAD) were evaluated. The results were compared to plants grown under natural sunlight. In both species, total chlorophyll content (SPAD) values decreased for plants under sunlight, and for those grown under FLUORA lighting throughout the experimental period, while the values measured for plants grown under LEDs maintained a relatively constant value. At the end of the experiment, plant dry matter in both species was significantly lower under LEDs and FLUORA lighting, than the plants exposed to solar light. The two species showed different gas exchange dynamics under LEDs and FLUORA lighting, and photosynthetic performance decreasing after 10 days of light treatment compared to plants under sunlight. The results demonstrated that for common dandelion and purple coneflower photosynthetic processes are often modified when the species are cultivated under these artificial lighting and in controlled- environment chambers, because lamps do not able to generate the same spectrum and energy of sunlight.
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