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Scientia Horticulturae

Elinor Aviv-Sharon, Meir Achiam, Ziva Gilad

In the past decade, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been replacing most other types of light sources. One emerging use for LEDs in horticulture is ‘intra-canopy illumination’ or ‘LED-interlighting’, feasible owing to their low heat output and small physical size. The interlighting technique, typically implemented in environmentally-controlled greenhouses also supplemented with overhead lighting, is mostly relevant for high-wire vegetable cultivation, in which self-shading results in light limitations for a large fraction of the canopy. Interlighting has been shown to increase the yield and/or improve fruit quality in all-year round greenhouse crops such as tomato, cucumber and sweet pepper. In this work, we utilized daytime supplemental intra-canopy LED illumination for sweet pepper grown in high-density ‘Spanish’ trellis systems within passive high tunnels in the Jordan Valley, Israel (latitude ˜32 °N). While canopy top at these conditions is not light-limited, extensive deep shading of the inner canopy is a disadvantage. In two experiments carried out in two separate seasons, the supplemental lighting, which enhanced the photosynthetic rates of the inner canopy foliage by 3.5- to 5.7-fold, resulted in significant increase (˜30%) of the fruit yield during the spring season. The added yield was attained by higher fruit numbers, with no notable effects on fruit size or weight. Our results raise the prospect that LED-interlighting may be a useful practical tool for maximizing fruit production, even in geographical regions of ample sunlight.

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Effects of daytime intra-canopy LED illumination on photosynthesis and productivity of bell pepper grown in protected cultivation
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Elinor Aviv-Sharon, Meir Achiam, Ziva Gilad

Effects of daytime intra-canopy LED illumination on photosynthesis and productivity of bell pepper grown in protected cultivation

In the past decade, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been replacing most other types of light sources. One emerging use for LEDs in horticulture is ‘intra-canopy illumination’ or ‘LED-interlighting’, feasible owing to their low heat output and small physical size. The interlighting technique, typically implemented in environmentally-controlled greenhouses also supplemented with overhead lighting, is mostly relevant for high-wire vegetable cultivation, in which self-shading results in light limitations for a large fraction of the canopy. Interlighting has been shown to increase the yield and/or improve fruit quality in all-year round greenhouse crops such as tomato, cucumber and sweet pepper. In this work, we utilized daytime supplemental intra-canopy LED illumination for sweet pepper grown in high-density ‘Spanish’ trellis systems within passive high tunnels in the Jordan Valley, Israel (latitude ˜32 °N). While canopy top at these conditions is not light-limited, extensive deep shading of the inner canopy is a disadvantage. In two experiments carried out in two separate seasons, the supplemental lighting, which enhanced the photosynthetic rates of the inner canopy foliage by 3.5- to 5.7-fold, resulted in significant increase (˜30%) of the fruit yield during the spring season. The added yield was attained by higher fruit numbers, with no notable effects on fruit size or weight. Our results raise the prospect that LED-interlighting may be a useful practical tool for maximizing fruit production, even in geographical regions of ample sunlight.

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