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  • Author or Editor: Celina Gomez x
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Numerous studies have evaluated the effect of high-energy radiation as means to increase nutritional quality of lettuce (Lactuca sativa). However, most research has focused on providing constant radiation quality or quantity throughout the production cycle, which typically results in yield reductions or increases in production costs. End-of-production (EOP) radiation is a cost-effective, preharvest practice that can allow growers to manipulate product quality and thus increase market value of lettuce without negatively affecting plant growth. The objective of this study was to quantify and compare growth and accumulation of secondary metabolites from ‘Rouxaï RZ’ and ‘Codex RZ’ red-leaf lettuce grown indoors and exposed to different strategies of EOP high-energy radiation. Plants were grown for 24 days under an average daily light integral (DLI) of 15.8 mol·m‒2·d‒1 (220 µmol·m‒2·s‒1 for 20 h·d−1) using red:blue light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. Four days before harvest (36 days after sowing), plants were exposed to one of three EOP treatments added to red:blue LEDs: 1) ultraviolet-A (EOP-ultraviolet); 2) high blue (EOP-B); or 3) high-intensity (EOP-H) radiation. A fourth treatment was included as a control, with no EOP. Except for EOP-H, all treatments provided a DLI of 15.8 mol·m‒2·d‒1; EOP-H provided a DLI of 31.7 mol·m‒2·d‒1. No treatment differences were measured for shoot fresh weight (FW) of ‘Rouxaï RZ’ but shoot FW of ‘Codex RZ’ was negatively affected by EOP radiation, indicating potential changes in lettuce yield from applying EOP high-energy radiation during active plant growth. In general, EOP treatments did not affect total phenolic content and total carotenoid concentration of plants, but anthocyanin content and antioxidant capacity were positively influenced by EOP-B and EOP-H, whereas EOP-ultraviolet resulted in similar nutritional quality to control. Findings from this study indicate that EOP high-energy radiation, especially EOP-B, has significant potential to improve the nutritional quality of red-leaf lettuce grown in controlled environments.

Open Access

The decline in the availability of pine (Pinus taeda L.) bark (PB) supplies and increasing prices have caused concerns in the nursery industry. Research was conducted to evaluate the effect of parboiled rice (Oryza sativa L.) hulls (PBH) as a substrate amendment to PB-based container substrates on the growth of Spiraea ×bumalda L. ‘Anthony Waterer’ and to examine the changes in physical properties of the substrates during long-term production cycles under outdoor nursery conditions. Six substrates were formulated by blending PB with 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, or 100% PBH (by volume). Substrate composition affected plant growth components evaluated, generally decreasing growth as the amount of PBH increased. However, amending PB with up to 40% PBH did not result in a significant decrease in plant growth or increase the volume or frequency of irrigation for container-grown spirea. Physical properties of substrates amended with PBH improved over time. Based on these results, PB-based substrates amended with up to 40% PBH retained physical properties that were generally within current guidelines for nursery container substrates after one (25 weeks) and two (70 weeks) growing seasons.

Free access

Seedlings of six tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cultivars (‘Maxifort’, ‘Komeett’, ‘Success’, ‘Felicity’, ‘Sheva Sheva’, and ‘Liberty’) were grown monthly for 2-week treatment periods to determine photomorphogenic and developmental responses to different light-quality treatments from supplemental lighting (SL) across changing solar daily light integrals (DLIs). Seedlings were grown in a glass-glazed greenhouse at a midnorth latitude (lat. 40° N, long. 86° W) under one of five lighting treatments: natural solar light only (control), natural + SL from a 100-W high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamp, or natural + SL from arrays of red and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) using 80% red + 20% blue, 95% red + 5% blue, or 100% red. Varying solar DLI occurred naturally for all treatments, whereas constant DLI of 5.1 mol·m−2·d−1 was provided for all SL treatments. Supplemental lighting increased hypocotyl diameter, epicotyl length, shoot dry weight, leaf number, and leaf expansion relative to the control, whereas hypocotyl elongation decreased when SL was applied. For all cultivars tested, the combination of red and blue in SL typically increased growth of tomato seedlings. These results indicate that blue light in SL has potential to increase overall seedling growth compared with blue-deficient LED SL treatments in overcast, variable-DLI climates.

Free access

To identify practices that may simplify the use of small-scale hydroponic systems for indoor gardening, we compared two nutrient solution management treatments for basil (Ocimum basilicum) production. Experiments were conducted for 8 weeks to evaluate the effect of biweekly replacement of the nutrient solution (W) vs. biweekly fertilizer addition without nutrient solution replacement (W/O) on growth and nutrient uptake of basil ‘Genovese Compact’ grown in either a greenhouse or an indoor environment. Greenhouse day/night temperature was 29/24 ± 4 °C, relative humidity (RH) was 65 ± 4%, and daily light integral (DLI) was 26.1 mol·m‒2·d‒1. The indoor environment had a constant ambient temperature of 21 °C, RH of 65%, and DLI of 9 mol·m‒2·d‒1 provided by broadband white lamps. Four plants were grown in 7.6-L replicate hydroponic systems, with 178 mg·L‒1 N from a complete nutrient solution in two experimental runs. Shoot fresh and dry mass, leaf number, and leaf area showed an increasing quadratic trend over time when plants were grown in the greenhouse. In contrast, growth over time was linear for plants grown indoors. Within each environment, solution management treatment did not affect growth, indicating that the simpler W/O strategy was adequate under these conditions. Plants grown in the greenhouse required more frequent refill water applications compared with indoors, which resulted in three to four times more refill water applied. Because indoor-grown plants had a decreased growth rate, nutrient uptake rate, and volume of water applied compared with plants grown in the greenhouse, electrical conductivity (EC) for the W/O treatment increased over time. Final nutrient solution concentration was highest for indoor-grown plants under the W/O treatment, and final tissue nutrient concentration was higher for plants grown indoors compared with the greenhouse. Final nutrient uptake (dry mass × nutrient concentration) was higher for plants grown in the greenhouse rather than indoors. Considering that EC increased in the solution of indoor-grown plants under W/O, an appropriate strategy using this treatment would require reducing fertilizer input indoors. To refine simple and robust fertilizer management strategies for indoor gardeners, further research is needed to test variables such as different plant species, cultivars, and water qualities.

Open Access

Intumescence is a physiological disorder that affects some tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cultivars grown in environments lacking ultraviolet radiation. Both far-red (FR) radiation and blue light have been shown to help mitigate this disorder. Thus, the objectives of this study were to characterize and compare intumescence injury and growth of various tomato cultivars propagated under different radiation qualities (Expt. 1) and to evaluate plant responses to the interactive effect of radiation quality and relative humidity (RH) (Expt. 2). Seedlings of six cultivars in Expt. 1 were grown under broad band white light (W), W and blue with (WBFR) or without (WB) FR radiation, and blue and red light with FR radiation (BRFR). Seedlings of four cultivars in Expt. 2 were grown under W or WBFR and a low (≈50%) or high (≈95%) RH. In both experiments, seedlings were grown under a daily light integral of ≈13 mol·m‒2·d‒1 (200 ± 4 μmol·m‒2·s‒1 for 18 h·d−1). FR radiation was provided using 20 ± 2 μmol·m−2·s−1 delivered throughout the entire photoperiod or at the end-of-day (EOD) in Expts. 1 or 2, respectively. Intumescence was generally suppressed when seedlings in Expt. 1 were grown under BRFR and WBFR, which also corresponded with the general response to stomatal conductance (gs ). In contrast, seedlings grown under W had the highest incidence of intumescence, ranging from 23% to 69% across cultivars. The high blue photon flux (PF) ratio in WB was not effective at suppressing intumescence injury without FR radiation, although incidence and severity were lower compared with W. In Expt. 2, intumescence incidence was generally lower in seedlings grown under WBFR, and RH had small effects on intumescence. In both experiments, younger leaves were relatively less affected by intumescence, suggesting that a developmental factor is associated with the disorder. As expected, providing FR radiation resulted in a general increase in stem height across cultivars and in both experiments. The high RH provided in Expt. 2 also resulted in an increase in stem height. However, seedlings under low RH produced larger leaves, lower specific leaf area, and more shoot dry mass than those under high RH. Overall, our findings show that applying FR radiation helps suppress intumescence, but strategies are needed to minimize issues with excessive stem elongation.

Open Access

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are an attractive alternative to high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps for plant growth because of their energy-saving potential. However, the effects of supplementing broad-waveband solar light with narrow-waveband LED light on the sensory attributes of greenhouse-grown tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are largely unknown. Three separate studies investigating the effect of supplemental light quantity and quality on physicochemical and organoleptic properties of greenhouse-grown tomato fruit were conducted over 4- or 5-month intervals during 2012 and 2013. Tomato cultivars Success, Komeett, and Rebelski were grown hydroponically within a high-wire trellising system in a glass-glazed greenhouse. Chromacity, Brix, titratable acidity, electrical conductivity (EC), and pH measurements of fruit extracts indicated plant response differences between lighting treatments. In sensory panels, tasters ranked tomatoes for color, acidity, and sweetness using an objective scale, whereas color, aroma, texture, sweetness, acidity, aftertaste, and overall approval were ranked using hedonic scales. By collecting both physicochemical as well as sensory data, this study was able to determine whether statistically significant physicochemical parameters of tomato fruit also reflected consumer perception of fruit quality. Sensory panels indicated that statistically significant physicochemical differences were not noticeable to tasters and that tasters engaged in blind testing could not discern between tomatoes from different supplemental lighting treatments or unsupplemented controls. Growers interested in reducing supplemental lighting energy consumption by using intracanopy LED (IC-LED) supplemental lighting need not be concerned that the quality of their tomato fruits will be negatively affected by narrow-band supplemental radiation at the intensities and wavelengths used in this study.

Free access

Sandhill milkweed [Asclepias humistrata (Walter)] is important for monarch butterfly [Danaus plexippus (L.)] conservation efforts, yet precise cultivation practices are largely not available. We tested the effects of three fertilizer rates and four substrate types and four container types on the performance of sandhill milkweed during greenhouse production. Seedlings fertilized with a high (0.90 g per 48-cell container) controlled-release fertilizer rate of 15N–3.9P–10.0K (15–9–12 Osmocote® Plus) had reduced performance compared with low and medium fertilizer rates (0.34 and 0.56 g per 48-cell container, respectively). Seedlings grown in large containers (∼175 mL including standard 32-cell liners and tall tree-tubes) outperformed seedlings grown in small containers (∼100 mL including standard 48-cell liners and short tree tubes). A transplant ready plant can be produced for spring within 16 weeks when seeds are sown in early January. Although sandhill milkweed seedlings can be grown under various fertilizer rates and in various containers and substrates, seedlings grown in tall tree tubes in a peat-based mix (Sunshine Mix) outperformed a nursery standard substrate and two wood fiber substrates. We recommend growing plants in a peat-based substrate within tall tree tube containers and applying a medium fertilizer rate.

Open Access

The main objective of this study was to characterize intumescence injury of three susceptible tomato cultivars grown in a greenhouse or indoors using two types of soilless culture systems. Plants of cultivars Maxifort, Camaro, and Patio were grown in either an indoor environment with broadband white and red light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures providing a daily light integral (DLI) of 12.7 mol·m−2·day−1 [photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 220 ± 3 µmol·m−2·s−1 for 16 h·d−1] or in a glass-glazed greenhouse with supplemental lighting provided by high-pressure sodium lamps that delivered a PPFD of ∼150 µmol·m−2·s−1. Plants were grown using deep-water culture hydroponic systems or containers with a peat-based substrate. The growing environment had a larger effect on intumescence incidence and severity than the growing system, likely due to differences in ultraviolet radiation (100 to 400 nm), but other factors such as day/night temperature and relative humidity (RH), could have affected the response. Across cultivars, the probability of developing intumescence was higher indoors (≥91%) than in the greenhouse. Indoor-grown plants also developed symptoms of the disorder from 2 to 6 days earlier than those in the greenhouse. Similarly, intumescence incidence was higher in plants from all cultivars grown indoors than in the greenhouse, but differences between the two environments were generally greater for Patio and Camaro than for Maxifort, which was the most susceptible cultivar. Greenhouse conditions were more conducive to active plant growth. For example, plants in the greenhouse were more than 2 times taller and had at least 12 times greater leaf area than those indoors, which resulted in large differences in shoot dry mass. However, environmental effects on intumescence response also contributed to differences in growth, as plants that were most affected by the disorder experienced severe leaf abscission and/or senescence. Our overall findings show that intumescence is greatly affected by the production environment, but injuries are likely to change based on genetic susceptibility.

Open Access

The objectives were to characterize and compare shrinkage (i.e., transplant loss) and growth of tissue-cultured blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) transplants acclimated in greenhouses or indoors under 1) different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) (Expt. 1); or 2) spectral changes over time using broad-spectrum white (W; 400 to 700 nm) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) without or with red or far-red (FR) radiation (Expt. 2). In Expt. 1, ‘Emerald’ and ‘Snowchaser’ transplants were acclimated for 8 weeks under PPFDs of 35, 70, 105, or 140 ± 5 µmol·m‒2·s‒1 provided by W LED fixtures for 20 h·d−1. In another treatment, PPFD was increased over time by moving transplants from treatment compartments providing 70 to 140 µmol·m‒2·s‒1 at the end of week 4. Transplants were also acclimated in either a research or a commercial greenhouse (RGH or CGH, respectively). Shrinkage was unaffected by PPFD, but all transplants acclimated indoors had lower shrinkage (≤4%) than those in the greenhouse (15% and 17% in RGH and CGH, respectively), and generally produced more shoot and root biomass, regardless of PPFD. Growth responses to increasing PPFD were linear in most cases, although treatment effects after finishing were generally not significant among PPFD treatments. In Expt. 2, ‘Emerald’ transplants were acclimated for 8 weeks under constant W, W + red (WR), or W + FR (WFR) radiation, all of which provided a PPFD of 70 ± 2 μmol·m−2·s−1 for 20 h·d−1. At the end of week 4, a group of transplants from WR and WFR were moved to treatment compartments with W (WRW or WFRW, respectively) or from W to a research greenhouse (WGH), where another group of transplants were also acclimated for 8 weeks (GH). Shrinkage of transplants acclimated indoors was also low in Expt. 2, ranging from 1% to 4%. In contrast, shrinkage of transplants acclimated in GH or under WGH was 37% or 14%, respectively. Growth of indoor-acclimated transplants was generally greater than that in GH or under WGH. Although growth responses were generally similar indoors, plants acclimated under WFR had a higher root dry mass (DM) and longer roots compared with GH and WGH.

Open Access

The objectives were to 1) compare growth and yield of different ginger (Zingiber officinale) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) propagules grown under two photoperiods (Expt. 1); and 2) evaluate whether their growing season could be extended with night interruption lighting (NI) during the winter (Expt. 2). In Expt. 1, propagules included 1) micropropagated tissue culture (TC) transplants, 2) second-generation rhizomes harvested from TC transplants (2GR), and 3) seed rhizomes (R). Plants received natural short days (SDs) or NI providing a total photon flux density (TPFD) of 1.3 µmol·m−2·s−1. Providing NI increased number of new tillers or leaves per plant, rhizome yield (i.e., rhizome fresh weight), and dry mass partitioning to rhizomes in both species. There was no clear trend on SPAD index in response to photoperiod or propagative material. Although TC-derived plants produced more tillers or leaves per plant, 2GR ginger and R turmeric produced a higher rhizome yield. In Expt. 2, seed rhizomes of ginger and turmeric were grown under five treatments with different photoperiods and/or production periods: 1) 20 weeks with NI (20NI), 2) 24 weeks with NI (24NI), 3) 28 weeks with NI (28NI), 4) 14 weeks with NI + 10 weeks under natural SDs (24NISD), and 5) 14 weeks with NI + 14 weeks under natural SDs (28NISD). NI provided a TPFD of 4.5 µmol·m−2·s−1. Lengthening the production period and providing NI increased rhizome yield and crude fiber content in both species. SPAD index decreased when plants were exposed to natural SDs at the end of the production period (NISD treatments). Results demonstrate the potential to overcome winter dormancy of ginger and turmeric plants with NI, enabling higher rhizome yield under natural SDs.

Open Access