Melon and potato crops productivity under a new generation of optically active greenhouse films

S. Lemarié, V. Guérin, A. Jouault, K. Proost, S. Cordier, G. Guignard, S. Demotes-Mainard, J. Bertheloot, S. Sakr, F. Peilleron
The quality of the sunlight spectrum can be modulated by incorporating optically active formulations into plastic greenhouse covers with the objective to improve plant precocity, yield and fruits' quality. The patented “Light Cascade®” (LC®) technology formulations, which are dispersed in plastic greenhouse films, can induce an increase in the blue (400-500 nm) and in the red (600-700 nm) wavelengths. This study aims to evaluate the effect of the LC® technology on the productivity of two low tunnel cultivated crops, i.e., the Charentais cantaloupe melon and early culture of potato. For each crop, trial campaigns have been performed since 2015 at different experimental and growers' farms in France and Spain. Several LC® formulations have been evaluated and next to their optical properties, the lifetime of the LC® systems was significantly improved. First and/or final cumulated yield (t ha‑1) of each crop has been quantified and melon fruits' quality has been assessed based on the sugar content quantification and weight. Melon trial results showed a weather conditions and region-specific response underneath the LC® films. The main data indicated i) an increase of up to 2.2 times yield at the first melon harvest, ii) an increase of the mean fruit weight (+34.4 g) for all harvests, and iii) a stable or an increased sugar content relative to the conventional film. More interestingly, the effect of the LC® greenhouse films on melon production was more pronounced in unfavourable climatic conditions and seems to be temperature dependent. Concerning the early potato crop results, two very interesting results have been observed as i) an earlier harvest time (8 days) and ii) an increase of small sized tubers' yield (up to 15%). Further research is ongoing to evaluate the effect of the LC® additives on other greenhouse cultivated crops, such as berries, tomato, pepper, cucumber and cut flowers. Next to this, a better understanding of the temperature effects and light intensity on the performance of the LC® greenhouse films is investigated.
Lemarié, S., Guérin, V., Jouault, A., Proost, K., Cordier, S., Guignard, G., Demotes-Mainard, S., Bertheloot, J., Sakr, S. and Peilleron, F. (2020). Melon and potato crops productivity under a new generation of optically active greenhouse films. Acta Hortic. 1296, 517-526
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1296.67
light spectrum, optical active dyes, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), vegetable, photoconversion greenhouse covers

Acta Horticulturae