Photosensitivity of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) Seedlings Exposed to Ultraviolet-B Radiation

María Luisa Tapia F.1*, Guillermo Toro A.1, Bélgica Parra R.1, and Alejandro Riquelme E.1

The intensity of ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) has increased on the Earth´s surface due to the stratospheric ozone depletion, causing an adverse effect on a wide range of species, such as morphological, physiological, and biochemical alterations. This research studied the intraspecific photosensitivity of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) seedlings exposed to UV-B. Six commercial cultivars were evaluated: Laura, Sprint 440, Dasher II, Exocet, Poinsett 76, and Marketmore 76 under greenhouse-controlled environmental conditions with a hydroponic sandwich-type system with a Hoagland II nutrient solution. Seedlings were irradiated from expanded cotyledons to the third true leaf with three intensities of UV-B radiation (30, 40, and 50 μW cm-2) for 18 d between 11:40-15:40 h. Seedling growth, morphology, accumulation of photosynthetic pigments, and absorbing UV-B pigments were evaluated. ‘Laura’ was the least affected by chlorosis and had a total absence of leaf curl, whereas ‘Poinsett 76’ was the most affected in the 40 and 50 μW cm-2 intensities. Both leaf area and seedling height of ‘Marketmore 76’ and ‘Poinsett 76’ had the lowest values. ‘Laura’ obtained the highest value in both fresh weight and dry weight. ‘Poinsett 76’ had the least amount of pigments absorbing UV-B and was 53% lower than that obtained by ‘Laura’. ‘Poinsett 76’ had lower chlorophyll and carotenoids. Parameters used were indicators of the seedling response to UV-B radiation, but could not be used for cucumber seedling sensitivity to UV-B radiation.

Keywords: UV radiation, Cucumis sativus, chlorophyll, UV-B absorbing compounds, chlorosis
1Universidad de Chile, Facultad de Ciencias Agronómicas, Casilla 1004, Santiago, Chile. *Corresponding author (mtapia@uchile.cl).