ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES TO IMPROVE GREENHOUSE PRODUCT QUALITY
Greenhouse and controlled environment technology was traditionally developed to extend the crop cycle into the seasons that are not suitable for open-field production. Controlled environment technologies have also focused on optimizing environmental conditions to maximize plant growth and development rate as well as product quality. Today, product quality is a critical factor due to the increasingly competitive nature of the market for greenhouse products. Recognizing the unique opportunity to improve overall or specific product quality, various research has shown that the greenhouse environments could be tailored so that the products gain extra value such as improved vigor, nutritional quality or extended postharvest shelf life. For example, our research at the University of Arizona demonstrated that application of moderate salt stress to tomato plants could enhance soluble solids and lycopene concentrations in fruit throughout the experimental year-round production. However, it is also recognized that environmental conditions that maximize the biomass production are not necessarily the same as those that enhance the product quality. Therefore, economic analysis needs to be conducted and effective marketing strategies to promote and educate consumers must be developed to profitably introduce such controlled environment technologies that enhance specific quality attributes by reducing overall yields. In addition to pre-harvest controlled environment technologies, researchers should consider possible effects of post-harvest handling and storage environments and distribution methods to ensure delivery of high product quality to the consumers. Researchers and extension personnel must take a transdisciplinary systems approach that considers all factors involved from greenhouse production to consumption to successfully introduce such technologies that support sustainable development of greenhouse industry.
Kubota, C. (2012). ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES TO IMPROVE GREENHOUSE PRODUCT QUALITY. Acta Hortic. 952, 843-851
brix, EC, flavor, LED, lettuce, lycopene, phytochemical, postharvest, soluble solids, tomato, transplants