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  • Author or Editor: Leo F.M. Marcelis x
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Quantifying fruit growth can be desirable for several purposes (e.g., prediction of fruit yield and size, or for the use in crop simulation models). The goal of this article was to determine the best sigmoid function to describe fruit growth of pepper (Capsicum annuum) from nondestructive fruit growth measurements. The Richards, Gompertz, logistic, and beta growth functions were tested. Fruit growth of sweet pepper was measured nondestructively in an experiment with three different average daily temperatures (18, 21, and 24 °C) and in an experiment with six cultivars with different fruit sizes (20 to 205 g fresh weight). Measurements of fruit length and fruit diameter or circumference were performed twice per week. From these, fruit volume was estimated. A linear relationship related fruit fresh weight to estimated fruit volume, and a Ricker or polynomial function related fruit dry matter content to fruit age. These relations were used to convert estimated fruit volume into fruit fresh and dry weights. As dry weight increased until harvest, fitting the sigmoid function to the dry weight data was less suitable: it would create uncertainty in the estimated asymptote. Therefore, the sigmoid functions were fitted to fresh weight growth of the fruit. The Richards function was the best function in each data set, closely followed by the Gompertz function. The fruit dry weight growth is obtained by multiplication of the sigmoid function and the function relating fruit dry matter content to fruit age.

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When flower-bearing shoots in cut rose (Rosa ×hybrida) are harvested, a varying number of repressed axillary buds on the shoot remainder start to grow into new shoots (budbreak). Earlier experiments indicated that light reaching the bud affected the number of budbreaks. In all these studies, whole plants were illuminated with different light intensities or light spectra. The aim of this article is to disentangle the effects of light intensity and light spectrum, in this case red:far-red ratio, at the level of the buds on budbreak in a rose crop. Three experiments were conducted in which light intensity and red:far-red ratio at the level of the buds were independently varied, whereas intensity and red:far-red ratio of incident light on the crop were not changed. Light intensity and red:far-red ratio at the position of the buds were quantified and related to budbreak on the shoot remainders. Removal of vertical shoots increased light intensity and red:far-red ratio as well as budbreak (1.9 budbreaks per shoot remainder compared with 0.4 budbreaks when five vertical shoots were present). No vertical shoots and red light-absorbing shading paper over the plant base mimicked the effect of vertical shoots with respect to light intensity and red:far-red ratio, but budbreak (1.0 budbreaks) was intermediate compared with treatments with and without shoots. This suggested that the presence of shoots exerts an inhibiting effect on budbreak through both effects on light at the bud and correlative inhibition. When plants had no vertical shoots and light intensity and red:far-red ratio at bud level were changed by neutral and red light-absorbing shading paper, there was a positive effect of light intensity on budbreak (0.3 more budbreaks per shoot remainder) and no effect of red:far-red ratio. Combinations of high and low light intensity with high and low red:far-red ratio on axillary buds showed that there was a positive effect of light intensity on budbreak (0.5 more budbreaks per shoot remainder) and no effect of red:far-red ratio. Our study reveals that when light intensity and red:far-red ratio received by the plant are similar but differ at bud level, budbreak was affected by light intensity and not by red:far-red ratio.

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This study compared supplemental white light-emitting diode (LED) light provided on top of the canopy (top-light) or partially on top and partially as intracanopy light (ICL) in high-wire cucumber (Cucumis sativus) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) crops. The aim was to determine the effects of partially substituting top-light by ICL on fruit yield and its underlying yield components. For each crop, three replicate Venlo glasshouse compartments were used. Two cucumber (HiPower and Skyson) and two tomato cultivars (Brioso and Merlice) were planted in the second half of Oct 2020 and grown on stone wool for a period of 15 weeks (cucumber) or 20 weeks (tomato). Light was supplied at either a light intensity of 250 or 375 µmol⋅m−2⋅s−1, provided either as 100% top-light or as 67% (2/3) top-light and 33% (1/3) ICL. For cucumber at the higher light intensity, 50% more fruits were retained and for tomato at the higher light intensity, planting density was 50% higher to keep the plants balanced in terms of source-to-sink ratio. Substituting 33% of top-light with ICL resulted on average in an increase of 17% in fresh fruit yield for both cucumber and tomato. This increase was twice as high at the higher light intensity (20% to 24%) compared with the lower light intensity (10% to 12%). For both cucumber and tomato, the higher yield for ICL treatments resulted mainly from higher total plant dry weight, whereas partitioning to the fruits was hardly affected. For both crops, the higher plant dry weight resulted from a higher light use efficiency. Increasing light intensity from 250 to 375 µmol⋅m−2⋅s−1 resulted in 38% higher total daily light integral (including solar radiation) and 36% to 37% higher total plant dry weight in cucumber. In tomato, the higher light intensity resulted in 33% higher daily light integral and 36% to 40% total plant dry weight. These values are in agreement with the rule of thumb that 1% increment in light results in 1% increase in plant growth. For cucumber, partially substituting top-light by ICL as well as increasing light intensity resulted in longer and greener fruits, whereas tomato fruit quality (Brix, pH) was unaffected by ICL or light intensity. In conclusion, partially substituting top-light by intracanopy light increased fruit yield and this was even more so at higher than at lower supplemental light intensities.

Open Access

When flower-bearing shoots in cut-rose (Rosa ×hybrida) are harvested (removed), a varying number of repressed axillary buds on the shoot remainder start to grow into new shoots (budbreak). Besides removing within-shoot correlative inhibition, it is hypothesized that shoot removal leads to 1) increased light intensity lower in the crop canopy; 2) changes in the light spectrum (particularly red:far-red ratio); and 3) changed source:sink ratio (i.e., the ratio between supply and demand of assimilates). As a fourth hypothesis it is proposed that the degree of budbreak on a shoot remainder is also influenced by the correlative inhibition exerted by other shoots on the plant. It is the goal of this work to determine which of these four hypotheses is most important for budbreak in a cut-rose crop. Four experiments were conducted, in which these factors were varied by leaf removal, removal of mature shoots, varying the number of young shoots, shading of the crop, and application of direct light on the buds. Increase in source:sink ratio was not consistently associated with higher budbreak. If source:sink ratio was decreased by removal of leaves or a mature shoot, budbreak showed even a tendency to increase. Budbreak was subject to correlative inhibition exerted by other shoots on the plant. Treatments where more light reached the bud (as a result of less shoots, no shading of the crop, application of local light) increased budbreak. Increased red:far-red ratio had the same result as more light reaching the bud but was often interrelated with light intensity. It was concluded that after removal of the flower-bearing shoot, among the factors tested, light intensity on the buds was an important and consistent factor explaining budbreak on the shoot remainder, whereas the effect of light spectrum should be further investigated.

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