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A. Bar-Tal, B. Aloni, L. Karni, and R. Rosenberg

The objective of this research was to study the effects of N concentration and N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio in the nutrient solution on growth, transpiration, and nutrient uptake of greenhouse-grown pepper in a Mediterranean climate. The experiment included five total N levels (0.25 to 14 mmol·L-1, with a constant N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio of 4) and five treatments of different N-NO3: N-NH4 ratios (0.25 to 4, with a constant N concentration of 7 mmol·L-1). Plants were grown in an aero-hydroponic system in a climate-controlled greenhouse. The optimum N concentrations for maximum stem and leaf dry matter (DM) production were in the range of 8.0 to 9.2 mmol·L-1. The optimum N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio for maximal stem DM production was 3.5. The optimum value of N concentration for total fruit DM production was 9.4 mmol·L-1. Fruit DM production increased linearly with increasing N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio in the range studied. The N concentration, but not N source, affected leaf chlorophyll content. Shorter plants with more compacted canopies were obtained as the N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio decreased. The effect of N concentration on transpiration was related to its effect on leaf weight and area, whereas the effect of a decreasing N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio in reducing transpiration probably resulted from the compacted canopy. Nitrogen uptake increased as the N concentration in the solution increased. Decreasing the N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio increased the N uptake, but sharply decreased the uptake of cations, especially Ca.

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A. Bar-Tal, B. Aloni, L. Karni, J. Oserovitz, A. Hazan, M. Itach, S. Gantz, A. Avidan, I. Posalski, N. Tratkovski, and R. Rosenberg

Blossom-end rot (BER) is one of the major physiological disorders of green-house bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). The objective of the present work was to study the effects of the solution N concentration and N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio on fruit yield and the incidence of BER and other fruit-quality traits of greenhouse-grown bell pepper in a Mediterranean climate. Three experiments were conducted: Expt. 1 included five total N concentrations (0.25 to 14 mmol·L-1, with a constant N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio of 4); Expt. 2 included five treatments of different NO3: NH4 molar ratios (0.25 to 4, with a constant N concentration of 7 mmol·L-1); and Expt. 3 included three treatments of different NO3: NH4 molar ratios (1.0, 3.0 and 9.0, with a constant N concentration of 7 mmol·L-1). Plants were grown in an aero-hydroponics system in Expts. 1 and 2 and in tuff medium in Expt. 3, in greenhouses in Israel. The optimal values of N concentration for total fruit yield and for high fruit quality (marketable) were 9.3 and 8.3 mmol·L-1, respectively. The total and high-quality fruit yields both increased with increasing N-NO3: N-NH4 ratio in the range studied. The total and high-quality fruit yields both decreased sharply as the NH4 concentration in the solution increased above 2 mmol·L-1. The increase in the NH4 concentration in the solution is the main cause of the suppression of Ca concentration in the leaves and fruits and the increased incidence of BER. The occurrence of flat fruits also increased with increasing NH4 concentration in the solution.