Growth chamber experiments were conducted to study the physiological and growth response of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] to either 50% or 85 % relative humidity (RH). Vine cuttings of T1-155 were grown using the nutrient film technique in a randomized complete-block design with two replications. Temperature regimes of 28/22C were maintained during the light/dark periods with irradiance at canopy level of 600 μmol·m-2·s-1 and a 14/10-hour photoperiod. High RH (85%) increased the number of storage roots per plant and significantly increased storage root fresh and dry weight, but produced lower foliage fresh and dry weight than plants grown at 50% RH. Edible biomass index and linear growth rate (in grams per square meter per day) were significantly higher for plants grown at 85 % than at 50% RH. Leaf photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were higher for plants at 85 % than at 50% RH. Thus, the principal effect of high RH on sweetpotato growth was the production of higher storage root yield, edible biomass, growth rate, and increased photosynthetic and stomatal activity.
`Inca Yellow' marigolds (Tagetes erects L.) were planted in polyethylene bags containing coal bottom ash (CBA), pine wood peelings (PWP), a mixture of 1 CBA: 1 PWP (v/v), and loose Grodan rockwool (RW) and grown in a circulating nutriculture system. Three fertigation frequencies of 12, 6, or 4 cycles per 12-hour light period were set with a duration of 5 minutes each. Flower diameters of marigolds grown in CBA, PWP, and CBA-PWP exceeded flower diameters of RW-grown marigolds, and days from planting to harvest were less in CBA and CBA-PWP than in the other two media. There was no interaction between medium and fertigation frequency. Foliar analysis showed no significant differences in plant elemental composition among root media or fertigation frequencies. Postharvest PWP water extracts contained higher P levels than extracts of other media, and CBA-PWP water extracts contained higher K, Ca, and Mg. In the CBA-PWP mixture, decomposition products from PWP may have increased P volubility and solubilized the K, Ca,-and Mg-in CBA.
Two- to three-week-old `Sweet Charlie' strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) plug plants were conditioned [seven 9-hour short days without chilling (21 °C day/21 °C night) followed by seven 9-hour short days with chilling during the nyctoperiod (21 °C/12 °C night)] in September, then planted in a vertical hydroponic system for winter greenhouse production. Conditioned plugs produced significantly more fruit than did nonconditioned control plugs in January and February, but the difference was nonsignificant in March and April. Fruit yield increased linearly with height in the column (≈40 g/plant for every 30-cm increase in column height), probably because of increasing light level. When productivity is considered on an area basis (kg·m–2) and the column height effect on yield is accounted for, productivity over a 4.5-month period was 4.8 kg·m–2 for controls and 7.8 kg·m–2 for conditioned plugs. Conditioned plug plants offer the potential for increasing strawberry productivity and therefore the profitability of a winter greenhouse production system.
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) was chosen to demonstrate that the respective vegetative or reproductive conditions of transplants can be controlled in their early stages of development under artificial light in a closed system. Transplant production under artificial light was divided into three growth phases and the photoperiod during each of these phases was varied. The rate of floral development was controlled by photoperiod, but floral initiation itself was not affected. Short photoperiod treatments (8 or 12 hours/day) retarded floral development and stem elongation (bolting). This delay continued even after the transplants were transferred to natural long-day (15.5 hours/day on average) conditions with high temperatures (17 and 37 °C minimum and maximum). We concluded that by using short photoperiods during transplant production, marketable plants with reduced bolting could be produced under natural long-day conditions. In Japan, spinach with this rosetting capacity would be of greater value. Further, this concept opens the possibility of producing better quality transplants of several species under artificial lighting conditions of appropriate length, and thereby controlling their floral development and/or bolting.
Growth chamber experiments were conducted to study the physiological and growth response of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) to 50% and 85% relative humidity (RH). The objective was to determine the effects of RH on pod and seed yield, harvest index, and flowering of peanut grown by the nutrient film technique (NFT). `Georgia Red' peanut plants (14 days old) were planted into growth channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m). Plants were spaced 25 cm apart with 15 cm between channels. A modified half-Hoagland solution with an additional 2 mm Ca was used. Solution pH was maintained between 6.4 and 6.7, and electrical conductivity (EC) ranged between 1100 and 1200 μS·cm–1. Temperature regimes of 28/22 °C were maintained during the light/dark periods (12 hours each) with photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) at canopy level of 500 μmol·m–2·s–1. Foliage and pod fresh and dry weights, total seed yield, harvest index (HI), and seed maturity were greater at high than at low RH. Plants grown at 85% RH had greater total and individual leaflet area and stomatal conductance, flowered 3 days earlier and had a greater number of flowers reaching anthesis. Gynophores grew more rapidly at 85% than at 50% RH.
The effects of elevated CO2 on growth, pod, and seed yield, and gas exchange of `Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) were evaluated under controlled environmental conditions. Plants were exposed to concentrations of 400 (ambient), 800, and 1200 μmol·mol–1 CO2 in reach-in growth chambers. Foliage fresh and dry weights increased with increased CO2 up to 800 μmol·mol–1, but declined at 1200 μmol·mol–1. The number and the fresh and dry weights of pods also increased with increasing CO2 concentration. However, the yield of immature pods was not significantly influenced by increased CO2. Total seed yield increased 33% from ambient to 800 μmol·mol–1 CO2, and 4% from 800 to 1200 μmol·mol–1 CO2. Harvest index increased with increasing CO2. Branch length increased while specific leaf area decreased linearly as CO2 increased from ambient to 1200 μmol·mol–1. Net photosynthetic rate was highest among plants grown at 800 μmol·mol–1. Stomatal conductance decreased with increased CO2. Carboxylation efficiency was similar among plants grown at 400 and 800 μmol·mol–1 and decreased at 1200 μmol·mol–1CO2. These results suggest that CO2 enrichment from 400 to 800 μmol·mol–1 had positive effects on peanut growth and yield, but above 800 μmol·mol–1 enrichment seed yield increased only marginally.
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L. cv. Dimple) was chosen to determine whether bolting (i.e., elongation of flower stalks) could be controlled by manipulating the photoperiod during transplant production in a closed system using artificial light. Plants grown under various photoperiods during transplant production were transferred and cultured under natural short photoperiods and artificial long photoperiods. Vegetative growth at transplanting tended to be greater with the longer photoperiod because of the increased integrated photosynthetic photon flux. Bolting initiation reacted qualitatively to a long photoperiod, and the critical photoperiod for bolting initiation was longer than 13 h and shorter than 15 h. The plants grown under a longer photoperiod during transplant production had longer flower stalks at harvest. The long photoperiod and/or high temperature after transplanting therefore promoted flower stalk elongation. Growing plants under a photoperiod that was shorter than the critical photoperiod during transplant production reduced elongation of the flower stalks, thus there was no loss of market value even though the plants were cultured under a long photoperiod and high temperature for 2 weeks after transplanting.
`Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) was grown hydroponically at 20/16 °C, 24/20 °C, 28/24 °C, and 32/28 °C, day/night air temperatures to evaluate effects on pod and seed yield, flowering, harvest index, and oil content. Ten-day-old peanut seedlings were transplanted into rectangular nutrient film technique troughs (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m) and grown for 110 days. Growth chamber conditions were as follows: photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) mean of 436 μmol·m-2·s-1, 12 h light/12 h dark cycle, and 70% ± 5% relative humidity. The nutrient solution used was a modified half-Hoagland with pH and electrical conductivity maintained between 6.5 to 6.7, and 1000 to 1300 μS·cm-1, respectively, and was replenished weekly. Vegetative growth (foliage, stem growth, total leaf area, and leaf number) was substantially greater at increasingly warmer temperatures. Reproductive growth was significantly influenced by temperature. Flowering was extremely sensitive to temperature as the process was delayed or severely restricted at 20/16 °C. The number of gynophores decreased with temperature and was virtually nonexistent at the lowest temperature. Pod yield increased with temperatures up to 28/24 °C but declined by 15% at the highest temperature (32/28 °C). Seed yield, maturity, and harvest index were highest at 28/24 °C. Oil content (percent crude fat) increased an average of 23% and was highest at the warmest temperature (32/28 °C). These results clearly suggest that vegetative and reproductive growth, as well as oil content of peanut in controlled environments, are best at warmer temperatures of 28/24 °C to 32/28 °C than at cooler temperatures of 20/16 °C to 24/20 °C.
The sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] breeding clone TU-82-155 was grown during Spring 1990 and Summer 1991 in standard Tuskegee Univ. (Alabama) growth channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m) for 120 days in a greenhouse using a hydroponic (nutrient film) system with a modified half-strength Hoagland nutrient solution. The nutrient solution was changed every 2, 14, or 28 days. Total N, oil, ash, amino acid, vitamin, and mineral concentrations in storage roots generally were higher and dry weight and starch concentration were lower with 2-day solution changes than with those less frequent.
The effects of 0.25, 1.0, 2.5, 10, and 100 mg Mn/liter on sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] were evaluated in a greenhouse during 2 years using the nutrient film technique. Foliage and storage root dry weights declined linearly as Mn concentration increased in either whole plants or fibrous roots. Foliage and storage root dry weights were equally sensitive to Mn concentration in whole plants but 5 to 15 times more sensitive to increased Mn concentration in the fibrous roots. Foliar N, P, K, Ca, and Mg concentrations were adequate and did not appear to limit plant growth. Manganese concentrations in solution had very little effect on Fe, Zn, or B concentration. Manganese concentration was higher in the foliage than in fibrous roots. Plant roots showed browning at the higher (10 or 100 mg Mn/liter) concentrations in solution, which indicated the presence of oxidized Mn. Characteristic toxicity symptoms were observed in plants receiving 2.5 (moderate), 10, or 100 mg Mn/liter in solution.