BACKGROUND: After transplanting, the recent abnormal low temperature caused physiological disorders of pepper seedlings. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of UV-A LED, a physical elicitor, on the chilling tolerance of pepper seedlings.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Seedlings were continuously irradiated with 370 and 385 nm UV-A LEDs with 30 W·m-2 for 6 d. After that, seedlings were exposed to 4℃ for 6 h and then recovered under the normal growing condition for 2 d. There were no significant differences in growth characteristics of UV-A treatments compared to the control. Fv/Fm values of two UV-A treatments were below 0.8. Electrolyte leakage in the control was increased by chilling stress, while 385 nm UV-A had the significantly lowest value. Total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of two UV-A treatments were significantly increased by UV-A radiation. However, total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of the control were increased by chilling stress and tended to decrease again during the recovery time.
CONCLUSION: We confirmed that UV-A light was effective to induce the chilling tolerance of pepper seedling, and the supplemental radiation of 385 nm UV-A LED before transplanting could be used as a cultivation technique to produce high quality pepper seedlings.