Greenhouse Covering Materials and Supplemental Lighting Affect Growth, Yield, Photosynthesis, and Leaf Carbohydrate Synthesis of Tomato Plants

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

A study was conducted in mini-greenhouses covered with single-glass (glass), double inflated polyethylene film (D-poly), or rigid twin acrylic panels (acrylic) to determine the effects of covering materials and supplemental lighting (SL) (65 μmol·m-2·s-1 at 1 m from the ground, providing a 16-hour photoperiod) on growth, yield, photosynthesis, and leaf carbohydrate concentration of `Trust' greenhouse tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Regardless of the light treatment, the marketable yield (kg·m-2) and the number of fruit per square meter in D-poly houses were higher (P ≤ 0.05) by 15% to 16% and 13% to 17%, respectively, than in glasshouses. Under supplemental lighting (SL), similar results were observed in acrylic houses compared to glasshouses. Covering materials had no significant effect on photosynthesis and leaf chlorophyll (chl) concentration. SL increased the number of leaves (March) by 15% (P ≤ 0.05) in glasshouses, marketable fruit yield by 23% (P ≤ 0.01) in acrylic houses, leaf specific weight by 19% to 33% (P ≤ 0.05) in all houses, total chl concentration by 10% to 14% (P ≤ 0.01) in acrylic houses, and photosynthetic rate (March) by 22% (P ≤ 0.01) in glasshouses. Under nonsupplemental lighting (nonSL, daily solar radiation of 8.42 MJ·m-2), plant height in acrylic houses was significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) than in glasshouses. Neither covering materials nor SL affected (P ≤ 0.05) dry matter allocation to the fruit. Results suggest that D-poly and acrylic houses with SL provide the best environment for the early yield (February to March) under southwestern Ontario growing conditions. The photosynthetic rate decreased (P ≤ 0.05) by 18% in acrylic, and 15% in D-poly and glasshouses after 2 months of growth under nonSL. Conversely, the decrease in carbon exchange rate was not significant in D-poly houses and glasshouses under SL. As a result, the photosynthesis decline observed in the present study could not be explained by leaf starch accumulation in March.

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Contributor Notes

Corresponding author; e-mail doraisma@em.agr.ca.
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