Bag ‘Em: Cucumber fruit photosynthesis in interlight

As a driving factor for growth, photosynthesis research focusses mostly on the leaves of plants. However, assimilates can originate from foliar photosynthesis or from the fruit itself in proportion that varies between species (Cocaliadis et al., 2014; Simkin et al., 2020). For example, the surface area of a mature green cucumber (Cucumis sativa L.) fruit is comparable with that of a functional leaf and makes an important contribution in term of photo-assimilates to fruit growth (Sui et al., 2017). Therefore, gas exchange can be a key determinant of the fruit growth even though its importance is not well characterized in cucumber production. In this thesis, you will be providing a proof of concept of a measurement method for cucumber fruit photosynthesis using gas exchange measurements with a LI-6800. Subsequently, the method will be tested in a greenhouse setting using different interlighting treatments to investigate the effect on fruit photosynthesis, and how they could relate to differences in chlorophyll content.

Used skills

  • Gas exchange measurements
  • Data analysis
  • Chlorophyll extraction


Cocaliadis, M.F., Fernández-Muñoz, R., Pons, C., Orzaez, D. and Granell, A., 2014. Increasing tomato fruit quality by enhancing fruit chloroplast function. A double-edged sword?. Journal of experimental botany, 65(16), pp.4589-4598.

Simkin, A.J., Faralli, M., Ramamoorthy, S. and Lawson, T., 2020. Photosynthesis in non‐foliar tissues: implications for yield. The Plant Journal, 101(4), pp.1001-1015.

Sui, X., Shan, N., Hu, L., Zhang, C., Yu, C., Ren, H., Turgeon, R. and Zhang, Z., 2017. The complex character of photosynthesis in cucumber fruit. Journal of experimental botany, 68(7), pp.1625-1637.

Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.