The influence of light quality on growth and metabolic activity during pre-cultivation (in miniplug containers) of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) and wild cherry (Prunus avium) plants was investigated. Seedlings were grown in a growth chamber for a month under light-emitting diode (LED) light or fluorescent light. The LED lamps (Valoya) used in this study emitted a continuous spectrum thanks to a mixture of blue, green, red and far-red LEDs. Our results showed that plant response to light quality seems to be related to the plant species. In particular, in beech seedlings fresh and dry weight, shoot height and leaf area were greatest when plants were cultured under LED light, and lowest under fluorescent lamps. Furthermore, we found that LED-induced reduction of chlorophyll contents in beech and holm oak leaves resulted in an increase of the carboxylase capacity of Rubisco in the same plant species suggesting an improvement of light-use-efficiency in these plants. These results indicate that LED light may be suitable for the culture of plants in tightly controlled environments. The comparison of malondialdehyde levels between LED and fluorescent grown plants strongly supports this idea.
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