Measurements of Ambient Ozone Concentrations Show Elevated Levels within Commercial Greenhouses

in HortScience

Ozone is a highly oxidizing phytotoxic air pollutant, whose effects are documented to adversely affect crop growth and productivity. In contrast to the large body of published work investigating the effects of atmospheric ozone on outdoor agronomic and forestry crops, relatively few studies have addressed the effects of ozone exposure on greenhouse-grown crops. Outdoor concentrations of ozone can commonly attain concentrations in the 50–150 ppb range, which are known to detrimentally impact plant growth. The objective of this study was to characterize ozone exposure in commercial greenhouses as a prelude to the determination of dose–response effects on specific greenhouse crops and the development of ozone abatement methods, if appropriate. This study documented the levels and diurnal fluctuations in atmospheric ozone concentrations over two annual June–October “ozone seasons.” Measurements were taken every 10 min. for both indoor and outdoor ozone concentration, solar radiation, and temperature. Unexpectedly, indoor ozone concentrations often exhibited elevated levels that were 25% to 35% higher than outdoor concentrations, even in well-ventilated houses. These findings suggest that additional ozone production may occur within the greenhouse environment. Evaluations of causative factors and ozone effects on commercial crop production are warranted.

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