On the pros and cons of red photons for greenhouse tomato production: increasing the percentage of red photons improves LED efficacy but plant responses are cultivar-specific

Paul Kusuma, Theoharis Ouzounis, David Hawley, Tijmen Kerstens, Leo F.M. Marcelis, Ep Heuvelink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Supplemental lighting is necessary for winter greenhouse tomato production, and optimised spectra must consider both yield and energy use. In a 20-week winter greenhouse experiment, two common commercial tomato cultivars–‘Merlice’ and ‘Brioso’–were grown under four LED spectra with 38%, 63%, 81%, and 95% red photons. As the percentage of red photons increased, the blue and green percentages decreased (not at the same ratio). Stem length, specific leaf area, and dry mass partitioning were not significantly affected by spectra in either cultivar, but increasing the red percentage from 38% to 95% decreased harvested fruit fresh mass by 13%, total plant dry mass by 7.1%, and fruit dry mass by 9.5% in ‘Merlice’. There were no significant differences in these parameters for ‘Brioso’. The yield kWh−1 increased with increasing percent red in both cultivars because LED fixtures with higher fractions of photons from 660 nm red LEDs have higher photon efficacies (µmol J−1). The efficacies of the lamps in this study were estimated to range from 2.6 to 3.6 µmol J−1. Growers must consider tradeoffs that can occur between yield and efficacy in some cultivars, and how these factors apply to their situation, when choosing the spectrum for their greenhouse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-453
JournalJournal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology
Volume98
Issue number4
Early online date21 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • greenhouse
  • LED
  • photon efficacy
  • red
  • Solanum lycopersicum
  • tomato

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