Effect of mid-day reduction of high electrical conductivity treatment on the yield and quality of greenhouse cherry tomato

Johann S. Buck, Chieri Kubota, Merle Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cherry tomato (Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme) plants were grown hydroponically with three different regimes of electrical conductivity (EC) of the nutrient solution to develop an effective EC management method to enhance the fruit quality. The EC treatments examined were 1) continuous high EC [4.7 dS·m-1 (HE)], 2) continuous low EC [2.8 dS·m -1 (LE)], and 3) high EC combined with midday (1030-1530 HR) low EC [midday reduction of high EC (MDR)]. The research was conducted to obtain preliminary information on the effect of EC treatments on the yield and fruit quality for 15 weeks of harvest under semiarid greenhouse conditions. Harvested fruit were sorted to several quality grades, including the "premium" grade based on fruit size, color, and total soluble solids. The number of fruit per truss was significantly higher in cultivar L308 than in cultivar L907 and in the LE treatment than in the HE or MDR treatment. The fruit size decreased over time regardless of EC treatment and cultivar. Cumulative yield of 15 weeks was greater in the LE treatment (26.3 kg·m-2) than in the HE treatment (22.1 kg·m-2) for 'L907', and there were no significant differences between the three EC treatments for 'L308' (24.1-28.1 kg·m-2). The cumulative yield in the MDR treatment was similar to that in the LE treatment regardless of cultivar. When quality attributes such as total soluble solids concentration measured for randomly sampled fruit were considered, cumulative premium-grade yield was the greatest for the HE treatment (12.9 or 17.6 kg·m-2) and was the smallest for the LE treatment (1.4 or 12.1 kg·m-2), regardless of cultivar. The cumulative yield of premium-grade cherry tomatoes in the MDR treatment was not significantly different from that in the HE treatment for 'L308' but was 11% less than that in the HE treatment for 'L907'. Therefore, together with cultivar selection, the MDR treatment may be a potential alternative to a more commonly practiced continuously high EC treatment in semiarid greenhouses with limited environmental control capacity in which increasing the nutrient EC to increase quality is desired without significantly decreasing yield.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-466
Number of pages7
JournalHortTechnology
Volume18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

Keywords

  • Controlled environment
  • EC
  • Lycopersicom esculentum
  • Premium grade
  • Sodium chloride
  • Solanum lycopersicum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture

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