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  • Author or Editor: M.E.D. Graham x
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The effect of prolonged CO2 enrichment on the activities of ribulose l,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and carbonic anhydrase (CA) of greenhouse roses were studied. Plants of Rosa × hybrids `Red Success' were grown for 2 years at ambient and 900 μl CO2/liter during winter and spring with 75 μmol·m-2·s-1 photosynthetically active radiation supplemental lighting for 2 years. Measurements of initial and Mg+2-CO2-activated activities of Rubisco and CA were made during shoot development and at different positions within the plant canopy. Generally, there were no significant differences measured in the enzyme activities between the two CO2 concentrations. The results suggest that the photosynthetic capacity did not change and that there were no characteristic adaptations to long-term growth (up to 20 weeks) at elevated CO2 concentrations. The maintenance of Rubisco and CA activities with prolonged exposure to CO2-enriched atmospheres is proposed as the reason for long-term yield increases in roses when grown in enriched environments.

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The use of potential evapotranspiration (PET) estimates to identify irrigation timing for greenhouse tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) grown in peat-based substrate was evaluated for a spring and fall crop. PET (using the Penman equation) was calculated from leaf, wet and dry bulb temperatures, and incident and reflected photosynthetic photon flux. Substrate matric potential (SMP) was monitored continuously using electronic tensiometers. Two irrigation starting setpoints (-4.5 and -6.5 kPa SMP) and two nutrient solution electrical conductivity (EC) treatments (1.5 and 3.0 dS·m-1) were factorially combined in a completely randomized design. Irrigation frequency was greater in treatments irrigated at -4.5 than at -6.5 kPa. The integral of calculated PET values was correlated with SMP for both experiments. Accumulated PET values were higher at the start of irrigation in the -6.5-kPa treatments for spring and fall crops. Nutrient solution EC did not influence irrigation frequency. Leaf pressure potential (LPP) was correlated to PET-predicted LPP (r 2 > 0.56) in plants subjected to high EC, low (-6.5 kPa) matric potential setpoint, or both treatments. PET and electronic tensiometer technology can be used jointly to improve irrigation management for tomatoes grown in peat-based substrates by more accurately responding to crop needs for water and nutrients.

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An automatic irrigation system was designed for use on green-house tomatoes growing in peat-based substrates. This system uses electronic tensiometers to monitor continuously substrate matric potential (SMP) in peat-bags. The system also uses the Penman equation to evaluate potential evapotranspiration (PET) through the acquisition of many greenhouse environmental parameters. Through a series of linear equations, estimates of PET are used in a computer-controller system to vary the electrical conductivity (EC) of irrigated nutrient solutions, as well as SMP setpoints at which irrigations are started. Such modifications to current irrigation management systems may improve fruit quality and reduce the risk of water stress during periods of high PET by irrigating more frequently with less-concentrated nutrient solutions. Conversely, during periods of low PET, irrigation is less frequent with more-concentrated nutrient solutions. Although no differences were found in fruit number or overall yield using variable nutrient solution EC, plant fresh weight was higher in those treatments. It is concluded that an integrated tensiometer-PET system may give increased precision to irrigation management and the control of crop growth in the greenhouse.

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