Carbon dioxide concentration in Mediterranean greenhouses : how much lost production?

C. Stanghellini, L. Incrocci, J.C. Gazquez, B. Dimauro

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    In the absence of artificial supply of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse environment, the CO2 absorbed in the process of photosynthesis must ultimately come from the external ambient through the ventilation openings. This requires that the CO2 concentration within the house must be lower than the external concentration, as there would be no flow inwards otherwise. Since potential assimilation (that is, the assimilation level that can be attained when no other factor is limiting) is heavily dependent on carbon dioxide concentration, this implies that assimilation is reduced, whatever the light level or crop status. The ventilation of the greenhouse implies a trade-off between ensuring inflow of carbon dioxide and maintaining an adequate temperature within the house, particularly during sunny, chilly days. We apply a simple model, on which the Dutch ¿philosophy¿ of CO2 fertilisation is based, for estimating the potential production loss, through data measured in commercial greenhouses in Almeria and Sicily. Thereafter we discuss the management options for a grower to limit losses. In particular we analyse costs, potential benefits and consequences of bringing in more carbon dioxide either through increased ventilation, at the cost of lowering temperature, or through artificial supply. We find out that, whereas the reduction in production caused by depletion is comparable to the reduction resulting from the lower temperature caused by ventilation to avoid depletion, compensating the effect of depletion is much cheaper than making up the loss by heating.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1541-1549
    JournalActa Horticulturae
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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