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Electroculture of tomato plants in a commercial hydroponics greenhouse

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Abstract

An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of air ion treatment on tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum P. Miller) in terms of: (1) growth and health; (2) fruit yield and quality; and (3) economic factors. The plants were grown by a commercial greenhouse (G.H.) grower employing soilless culture techniques. An air ion generator and emitters were installed in such fashion that 864 plants were exposed to a high negative air ion density flux, while 576 plants grew in an area which received relatively few ions. Normal operational procedures, with certain modifications, were employed for plant culture, feed/irrigation, and environmental control.

Plants responded vigouously to air ion stimulation, which equated to shortening of the seeding-to-harvest time period by two weeks as measured by vine growth, main stem height, time to blossoming, fruit set, and fruit yield. Throughout the first four-month growth period plant growth was good and no serious physiological disorders nor insect damage were observed. During the sixth harvest week a virus infection appeared in both control and ion-treated plants, but was not of sufficient severity to ruin the experimnent. Foliage and fruit samples were subjected to laboratory analyses. In general, the stimulated plants contained higher percentages of mineral elements than those of the controls. Fruit from ion-treated plants has more ascorbic and citric acid than that from control plants. Although there were no wide differences in fruit texture or flavor, a taste panel verdict indicated that fruit from the stimulated plants tasted better. An unexpected benefit was marked decrease in white fly infestation. All these factors combined with the low cost of air-ion treatment suggest that this modality offers potential for greenhouse cultivation of garden crops.

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deceased

Editor's Note: Dr. Albert P. Krueger died on December 8, 1982. Please refer reprint requests or correspondance in care of the Air Ion Laboratory, Department of Biomedical and Environmental Health Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.

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Yamaguchi, F.M., Krueger, A.P. Electroculture of tomato plants in a commercial hydroponics greenhouse. J Biol Phys 11, 5–10 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01857966

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