Boron deficiency in fresh-market tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is a widespread problem that reduces yield and fruit quality but is often not recognized by growers. Tomatoes were grown in field and hydroponic culture to compare the effects of foliar and soil applied B on plant growth, fruit yield, fruit quality, and tissue nutrient levels. Regardless of application method, B was associated with increased tomato growth and the concentration of K, Ca, and B in plant tissue. Boron application was associated with increased N uptake by tomato in field culture, but not under hydroponic culture. In field culture, foliar and/or soil applied B similarly increased fresh-market tomato plant and root dry weight, uptake, and tissue concentrations of N, Ca, K, and B, and improved fruit set, total yields, marketable yields, fruit shelf life, and fruit firmness. The similar growth and yield responses of tomato to foliar and root B application suggests that B is translocated in the phloem in tomatoes. Fruit from plants receiving foliar or root applied B contained more B, and K than fruit from plants not receiving B, indicating that B was translocated from leaves to fruit and is an important factor in the management of K nutrition in tomato.
Jeanine M. Davis, Douglas C. Sanders, Paul V. Nelson, Laura Lengnick, and Wade J. Sperry
Mariateresa Cardarelli, Youssef Rouphael, Delia Muntean, and Giuseppe Colla
The fertilizer nitrogen (N) inputs to some potted plants such as ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala D.C.) are frequently higher than the actual demand. Optimization of N fertilization rate and selecting N-efficient cultivars are important approaches to increase the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and to reduce environmental pollution from nitrate leaching. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of increasing levels of nitrate (0.5, 2.5, 5, 10, or 20 mm of NO3 −) in the nutrient solution on plant growth, quality, soil plant analysis development (SPAD) index, chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf pigments, mineral composition, and NUE in five ornamental cabbage cultivars (Coral Prince, Coral Queen, Glamour Red, Northern Lights Red, and White Peacock), grown in closed subirrigation system. ‘Glamour Red’ and ‘Northern Lights Red’ needed 3.3 and 2.9 mm of NO3 − in the supplied nutrient solution, respectively, to produce 50% of predicted maximum shoot dry weight (SDW), whereas the vigorous cultivars Coral Prince, Coral Queen, and White Peacock needed 5.5, 4.7, and 4.3 mm of NO3 −, respectively. Total leaf area (LA), SDW, SPAD index, N, Ca, and Mg concentrations increased linearly and quadratically in response to an increase of the nitrate concentration in the nutrient solution. Irrespective of cultivars, fertilizing above 10 mm NO3 − produced high-quality plants (quality index of 5) and resulted in sufficiently high tissue concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and Fe.
Kyle R. Mankin and R. Peter Fynn
Nutrient uptake by New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens X hb.) `Equinox' was measured in a growth chamber under various combinations of light [photosynthetic photon flux (PPF)], air temperature, and nutrient solution concentration. Nitrate-N, P, K, Ca, and Mg ions were evaluated individually by measuring depletion of each nutrient from a constant-volume solution over 9 hours with constant environmental conditions. Individual nutrient uptake was not correlated to concurrent daily temperature environment, and only K and Mg showed a correlation with PPF. Uptake rates of N, P, K, Ca, and Mg increased significantly with increasing nutrient solution concentration. Estimated net assimilation rates of nutrients, based on measured shoot tissue concentrations of each nutrient and assuming that uptake occurred continuously at a rate proportional to canopy area, were correlated to average measured uptake rates for N, Ca, and Mg and were not correlated to average uptake rates for P and K. Although nutrient demand from plant growth may determine rates of nutrient uptake necessary over longer periods of time, short-term uptake was not related directly to daily fluctuations in environmental factors.
Cary A. Mitchell, Tina Leakakos, and Tameria L. Ford
This study evaluated the potential of high photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) from high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps, alone or in combination with metal halide (MH) plus quartz iodide (QI) incandescent lamps, to support lettuce growth, with or without N supplementation. Varying exposures to radiation from combined HPS, MH, and QI lamps influenced dry weight gain and photosynthetic pigment content of hydroponically grown `Black-Seeded Simpson' lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seedlings. Cumulative leaf dry weight declined with increasing exposure, up to 20 hours per day, to 660 μmol·m-2·s-1 of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) from HPS lamps concomitant with constant 20 hours per day of 400 m mol·m-2·s-1 from MH + QI lamps. Leaves progressively yellowed with increasing exposure to radiation from the three-lamp combination, corresponding to lower specific chlorophyll content but not to specific carotenoid content. Lettuce grown under 20-hour photoperiods of 400, 473, or 668 μmolm·m-2·s-1 from HPS radiation alone had the highest leaf dry weight at a PPF of 473 μmol·m-2·s-1. Chlorophyll, but not carotenoid specific content, decreased with each incremental increase in PPF from HPS lamps. Doubling the level of N in nutrient solution and supplying it as a combination of NH4 + and NO3 - partially ameliorated adverse effects of high PPF on growth and pigment content relative to treatments using single-strength N as NO3 –.
K.S. Reddy and H.A. Mills
Responses of two hydroponically grown marigold species, Tagetes erects L. `pumpkin Crush' and T. patula L. `Janie Yellow', to Mn concentrations of 0.5 mg·liter-1 or 10 mg·liter-1 with KNO3 and Ca(NO3)2 (NO3 source) or NH4N O3 as the N source were investigated. In both species, Mn uptake was enhanced with the NO3 source while reduced with NH4NO3. With Mn supplied at 0.5 mg·liter-1 and NO3 as the N source, T. erects absorbed twice the Mn per gram of dry matter as T. patula. T. erecta accumulated higher concentration of Mn in the shoot than in the root irrespective of the N source. T. patula accumulated higher concentration of Mn in the roots with the NO3 source while NH4NO3 shifted the Mn accumulation to the shoot. Growth of both species was suppressed with 10 mg Mn/liter and the suppression was greater with the NO3 source than with the NH4NO3. These results indicate an interspecific response to Mn concentration as well as an N source influence on the uptake of Mn in marigold grown under hydroponic conditions.
M. Tagliavini and N.E. Looney
Root and shoot growth of peach seedlings was strongly suppressed when the roots were held at 8 to 10C. Shoot and root dry weights and root volume increased linearly with increasing root-zone temperature (RZT) to 22C. GA3 at 5.7 μm (2 ppm) added to the aerated full nutrient solution reversed the effect of low RZT on shoot elongation but inhibited root growth at all RZTs. Paclobutrazol (PBZ) (6.8 × 10-3μm) (2 ppb) inhibited shoot elongation at all RZTs and shoot dry weight at 16 and 22C. However, PBZ had no effect on root dry weight accumulation at any RZT. The shoot growth-promoting effect of GA3, relative to control plants, disappeared at higher RZTs, but GA3 reversed the growth-inhibiting effect of PBZ at all RZTs. PBZ increased mean root diameter at all RZTs and significantly increased root volume at 22C. These results show that growth of peach seedlings is profoundly influenced by a cool root-zone environment. The plant growth regulator effects suggest that seedling roots play an important role in whole-plant gibberellin physiology. Some possible implications for fruit production are discussed. Chemical names used: gibberellic acid (GA3); β -[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]- α -(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol(paclobutrazol,PBZ).
Yuyao Kong, Ajay Nemali, Cary Mitchell, and Krishna Nemali
High energy-use cost for electric lighting is one of the major issues challenging sustainability of the indoor lettuce-farming industry. Thus, maximizing electrical energy-use efficiency (EUE, g·KWh−1), defined as the ratio of dry matter production (g) to electrical energy consumption (EEC, KWh−1), is crucial during indoor production. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are energy efficient and highly suitable for indoor farms. Research on optimal spectral quality of LEDs for lettuce growth is extensive; however, there is limited research examining LED spectral quality effects on EEC and EUE. Photon efficiency, defined as the ratio of light output to electrical energy input (PE, µmol·J−1), generally is used for selection of LED fixtures. Because PE does not account for differences in emitted light spectrum, it is not clear whether light-fixture selection based on PE can maximize EUE in lettuce production. This study comprised two experiments. In Expt. 1, we used four “phosphor-converted” commercial LEDs with different light intensities and spectra to model the effect of light spectral quality on lettuce shoot dry weight (SDW), EEC, and EUE. We also evaluated relations between EUE vs. PE and EUE vs. PER (PE based on red light) for indoor lettuce production. Results indicated that light spectral quality affected SDW, EEC, and EUE in lettuce production. Fitted models indicated that EEC increased linearly with increasing percentage of red-light output and was unaffected by other spectral colors or ratios. However, EUE increased in a curvilinear fashion with an increasing ratio of red to blue (R:B) light and reached a maximum at a ratio of 4.47. Similar to EUE, SDW also responded in a curvilinear fashion to R:B. Results also indicated that EUE correlated poorly with PE but linearly to PER. In Expt. 2, we grew three lettuce varieties under two commercial LED fixtures. They had similar levels of PE but different percentages of red, R:B, and PER values. Regardless of the variety, fixtures with greater percentages of red, R:B, and PER significantly increased EUE. We conclude that red-light quality is an important determinant of EUE and growers should select fixtures based on R:B and high PER in indoor lettuce farming.
Wenjing Guan, Elizabeth T. Maynard, Bronwyn Aly, Julie Zakes, Daniel S. Egel, and Laura L. Ingwell
Fresh-consumed parthenocarpic cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are a popular and high-value crop sold in local food markets. The parthenocarpic plant characteristics and climbing growth habit make cucumbers an ideal crop for high-tunnel production. Major types of parthenocarpic cucumbers include Beit alpha and mini, Dutch greenhouse, American slicer, and Japanese. Information regarding yield performance, plant growth, and disease resistance of the four types grown in high-tunnel conditions is limited. In this study, 16 parthenocarpic cucumber cultivars from the four major types were evaluated in high tunnels at three locations in Indiana and Illinois during Spring 2018. Plants were pruned to a single stem that was supported on a string. At all locations, the cultivars that had the most total yields were Beit alpha and mini, although their total yields were not always significantly higher than that of all the others. However, Beit alpha and mini cucumbers had high percentages of unmarketable fruit, mainly because of insect feeding damage and mechanical injuries on the skins that led to scarred fruit. Dutch greenhouse cultivars had relatively lower marketable yields at two of the three locations where there was a high percentage of misshaped fruit. ‘Tasty Green’ Japanese cucumber consistently had the lowest yields at all three locations. This cultivar also produced the most side shoot growth and, therefore, more pruning waste. The Japanese types ‘Tasty Jade’ and ‘Taurus’ had yields comparable to those of other cultivars, and they were more tolerant to two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae). However, ‘Tasty Jade’ was the cultivar most susceptible to powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii and Golovinomyces cichoracearum). ‘Corinto’ American slicer cucumber had relatively high yields at two of the three locations. This cultivar also had the highest percentage of marketable fruit. Information provided in the study is readily useful for growers using high tunnels when selecting parthenocarpic cucumber cultivars. It is also valuable for seed companies wishing to breed new cultivars adaptive for high-tunnel production.
Michael P. Dzakovich, Celina Gómez, Mario G. Ferruzzi, and Cary A. Mitchell
In addition to photosynthesis, light is a critical mediator of secondary metabolism in plants, signaling the production of potentially health-promoting phytochemicals and regulating the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can alter the sensory perception of a tomato. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a viable way to test the effects of individual wavebands of light and are being quickly adopted by the greenhouse tomato industry. However, studies characterizing the effects of specific wavelengths of light or supplemental lighting on phytochemical content in general are lacking. We hypothesized that enriching the amount of supplemental blue and/or red light that tomatoes receive would positively affect the amount of carotenoids and phenolic compounds that accumulate in tomato fruits through cryptochrome and/or phytochrome-dependent signaling pathways. To test this hypothesis, we compared the chemical and sensory characteristics of tomatoes grown with overhead high-pressure sodium (OH-HPS) lamps to those grown with intracanopy (IC)-LEDs emitting different ratios of red, blue, and far red light. Tomatoes were profiled for total soluble solids, titratable acidity, ascorbic acid content, pH, total phenolics, and prominent flavonoids and carotenoids. Our studies indicated that greenhouse tomato fruit quality was only marginally affected by supplemental light treatments. Moreover, consumer sensory panel data indicated that tomatoes grown under different lighting treatments were comparable across the lighting treatments tested. Our research suggests that the dynamic light environment inherent to greenhouse production systems may nullify the effects of wavelengths of light used in our studies on specific aspects of fruit secondary metabolism.
Youssef Rouphael, Giampaolo Raimondi, Rosanna Caputo, and Stefania De Pascale
Implementing nutrient management strategies in soilless culture, which improve water use efficiency (WUE) and limit the loss of eutrophying elements without affecting crop performance, is a priority for the floriculture industry. The aim of the current research was to assess the effect of two nutrient management strategies, based on electrical conductivity (EC) or nitrate-nitrogen (N-NO3 −) concentration control on plant growth, ornamental quality, plant–water relations, mineral composition, and WUE of greenhouse Hippeastrum grown in semiclosed soilless system. The recirculating nutrient solution was discharged whenever a threshold EC value of 3.0 dS·m−1 was reached (EC-based strategy), or when N-NO3 − concentration decreased below the limit of 1.0 mol·m−3 (nitrate-based strategy). There were no significant differences in terms of plant growth parameters, stomatal resistance, leaf water relations, and macronutrient composition in plant tissues between the two nutrient management strategies. In the EC- and the nitrate-based strategies, the recirculating nutrient solution was flushed 10 and 5 times, respectively. The water loss (W L) and the total water use (W use) in the EC-based strategy were significantly higher by 261.1% and 61.5%, respectively, compared with the N-NO3 −-based strategy. In contrast with the EC-based strategy, the adoption of the N-NO3 −-based strategy significantly minimized the nitrate, phosphate, and potassium emissions to the environment. The effective WUE of the system (WUES) recorded in the N-NO3 −-based strategy was higher by 55.9% compared with the one recorded with the EC-based strategy.