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Carolina Falcato Fialho Palma

Research Assistant

Carolina Falcato Fialho Palma


PhD project: LED lighting and metabolite production – a new approach to increase plant tolerance to abiotic stresses in multilayer systems

University: Aarhus University

Department: Department of Food Science

Supervisor: Carl-Otto Ottosen, Professor with Special Responsibilities, Department of Food Science, AU

Co-supervisor: Bernd Wollenweber, Associate Professor, Department of Agroecology – Crop Health, AU, Eva Rosenqvist, Associate Professor, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, KU

Project term: 01.10.2018 – 30.09.2021

Master’s degree: Msc in Plant Science, Specialization Greenhouse Horticulture, Wageningen University, The Netherlands



In order to optimize production in countries with a low daily-light integral, growers are showing increasing interest in the use of multilayer systems at the early stages of development. These systems allow for the production of the same amount of plants in a smaller area, solely under LED lighting. Plant response to spectral composition of light is highly species specific and a more in-depth study of these responses may be valuable to increase plant tolerance to abiotic stresses, contributing to a steady plant growth, high production and good product quality. Additionally, there seems to be a relation between light quality and the accumulation of secondary metabolites, which are key components in plant defense against abiotic stresses and determine plant overall plant quality through taste, color and aroma. A targeted use of specific wavelengths to increase the amount of protective metabolites may be beneficial to increase plant quality and overall tolerance to abiotic stresses. The long time goal of the research is to understand and manipulate plants in multilayer systems. The project is part of the iFood center of AU.



The aim of this project is to understand the physiological connection between light spectra, metabolite production and tolerance to abiotic stresses and to study the possibility of enhancing plant resistance to an abiotic stress solely by manipulating light conditions.



Research outline

Plants will be grown solely under LED light with different light qualities both optimal conditions or subjected to an abiotic stress(es) to study the effects of metabolite composition. Several methods will be used to access the effect of light quality on physiology and metabolite production and plant tolerance to abiotic stress.



Partners of Collaboration

  • Department of Food Science: Plant, Food & Climate (Aarhus University)
  • Department of Agroecology – Crop Health (Aarhus University)
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences: Section for Crop Sciences (University of Copenhagen)
  • Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), Grossbeeren, DE
  • Industrial partners in Denmark


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