Effects of light-diffusing plastic film on lettuce production and quality attributes

Patrick Riga, Leyre Benedicto

Abstract


In general, plants grown under diffuse light yield higher biomass than those grown under direct light as a result of a more uniform distribution of the light across the plant canopy. We compared the effects of a light-diffusing plastic film and a clear plastic film on growth of Batavia lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) in two greenhouses during five growth periods. Lettuce grown under the light-diffusing film were smaller (up to 36%) than control plants grown under the clear film, due to the fewer leaves per plant (up to 22%) and lower mean values of individual leaf area (up to 29%). The photosynthetically active radiations use efficiency was sometimes lower (up to 23%) in lettuces grown under the light-diffusing film. The pigment contents tended to be lower in plants grown under the light-diffusing plastic. The total macroelement contents of the lettuces grown under the light-diffusing plastic were up to 10% higher than in the lettuces grown under clear plastic, mainly as a result of higher leaf K contents (up to 19% higher). In addition, use of the light-diffusing plastic tended to increase leaf nitrate contents (by up to 23%). The leaf solid soluble content and acidity values were higher in the lettuces grown under the light-diffusing plastic, while leaf pH values were lower than in the control plants. The findings showed that the light-diffusing plastic was detrimental to production of compact heads of lettuce, and to some quality parameters such as nitrate and pigment contents. Nevertheless, open-leaf cultivars would likely show a different response to the diffuse light.


Keywords


diffuse light; Lactuca sativa; light use efficiency; vegetable production

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017151-10315