Seasonal Variation of Photosynthetic Efficiency of Greenhouse Tomato Plants

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  • 1 1Centre de Recherche en Horticulture, Département de Phytologie, Université Laval. Sainte-Foy, Québec. G1K 7P4, Canada
  • | 2 2Les Serres du St-Laurent, 700 rue Lucien Thibodeau, Portneuf, Québec. G0A 2Y0, Canada

Yield of greenhouse tomatoes has greatly increased during the past decade due to the development of more-productive cultivars and to the use of new technologies, such as supplemental lighting and CO2 enrichment. Under high PPF and p[CO2], however, the capacity of tomato plants to use supplemental energy and CO2 decreases. Our project aimed at determining the limits of photosynthetic capacity of tomato plants under supplemental lighting (HPS lamps, 100 μmol·m–2·s–1, photoperiod of 14 to 17 h) and high p[CO2] (900 ppm). The following measurements were made on the 5th and the 10th leaves of tomato plants at regular intervals from November to May: diurnal changes in net (Pn) and maximum (Pmax) photosynthetic rate, Chla fluorescence of dark-adapted and no dark-adapted leaves, and the soluble sugars and starch contents of the 5th and 10th leaves. Changes in global radiation from 250 W/m2 in winter to about 850 W/m2 in spring resulted in Pn increases of 45% and 42% in the 5th and 10th leaves, respectively. During the winter period, Pmax was higher than Pn, suggesting that leaves were not at maximum photosynthetic capacity. In the spring, no difference was found between Pmax and Pn. Sucrose concentration in leaves increased progressively up to a maximum of 12-h photoperiod, while hexoses remained constant. The Fv/Fm ratio did not vary during winter, but significantly decreased during spring due to photoinhibition. Increases in global radiation during spring resulted in lower photosynthetic rates, higher fluorescence, and starch accumulation in leaves. Data will be discussed in terms of crop efficiency and yield.

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