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  • Author or Editor: Theoharis Ouzounis x
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Seasonal uptake, storage, and remobilization of nitrogen (N) are of critical importance for plant growth. The use of N reserves for new growth in the spring is especially important for sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.), for which new shoot and fruit growth is concomitant and fruit development occurs during a relatively short bloom-to-ripening period. Sweet cherries grafted on precocious, dwarfing rootstocks such as the interspecific (P. cerasus × P. canescens) hybrids Gisela® 5 and 6 tend to produce large crops but smaller fruit when crop load is not balanced with adequate leaf area. Study objectives were to: 1) characterize natural N remobilization during fall and winter to canopy reproductive and vegetative meristems; 2) determine the effect of fall foliar urea applications on storage N levels in flowering spurs; 3) determine whether differential storage N levels influence spur leaf formation in spring; and 4) determine whether fall foliar urea applications affect the development of cold-hardiness. During fall, total N in leaves decreased by up to 51% [dry weight (DW)] and increased in canopy organs such as flower spurs by up to 27% (DW). The N concentration in flower spurs increased further in spring by up to 150% (DW). Fall foliar applications of urea increased storage N levels in flowering spurs (up to 40%), shoot tips (up to 20%), and bark (up to 29%). Premature defoliation decreased storage N in these tissues by up to 30%. Spur leaf size in the spring was associated with storage N levels; fall foliar urea treatments increased spur leaf area by up to 24%. Foliar urea applications increased flower spur N levels most when applied in late summer to early fall. Such applications also affected the development of cold acclimation in cherry shoots positively during fall; those treated with urea were up to 4.25 °C more cold-hardy than those on untreated trees.

Free access

With the expeditious development of optoelectronics, the light-emitting diode (LED) technology as supplementary light has shown great advancement in protected cultivation. One of the greatest challenges for the LED as alternative light source for greenhouses and closed environments is the diversity of the way experiments are conducted that often makes results difficult to compare. In this review, we aim to give an overview of the impacts of light spectra on plant physiology and on secondary metabolism in relation to greenhouse production. We indicate the possibility of a targeted use of LEDs to shape plants morphologically, increase the amount of protective metabolites to enhance food quality and taste, and potentially trigger defense mechanisms of plants. The outcome shows a direct transfer of knowledge obtained in controlled environments to greenhouses to be difficult, as the natural light will reduce the effects of specific spectra with species or cultivar-specific differences. To use the existing high-efficiency LED units in greenhouses might be both energy saving and beneficial to plants as they contain higher blue light portion than traditional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps, but the design of light modules for closed environment might need to be developed in terms of dynamic light level and spectral composition during the day to secure plants with desired quality with respect to growth, postharvest performance, and specific metabolites.

Free access

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