Red to Blue Light Ratio and Iron Nutrition Influence Growth, Metabolic Response, and Mineral Nutrients of Spinach Grown Indoors
Leafy greens are increasingly being produced indoors with electric lighting from light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Red (R) and blue (B) LEDs are commonly used to ensure healthy plant growth, but biofortification techniques can potentially maximise nutritional quality. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of B (peak = 450 nm) and R (peak = 665 nm) light ratios (R:B) of 9:1, 3:1, and 1:3 on growth, metabolic response, and the accumulation of mineral nutrients in spinach &lsquo;Corvair F1&prime; and &lsquo;Space F1&prime; grown in hydroponic solutions with different iron (Fe) concentrations (2, 5, and 15 mg L&ndash;1). Plant biomass and leaf length, width, and number generally decreased as the R:B decreased, leading to a high concentration of Fe in the solution. A higher Fe dose increased the contents of some other minerals but depended on the R:B and cultivar. For example, Zn generally increased with increasing Fe but Cu content decreased, especially in &lsquo;Space F1&prime;. There were less-profound effects of the R:B and Fe dose on metabolites or antioxidant capacity. The research findings suggest that the overall nutritional quality of spinach could improve with lighting and Fe biofortification strategies and thus increase the sustainability of indoor crop production.