The potential of a confined closed greenhouse in terms of sustainable production, crop growth, yield and valuable plant compounds of tomatoes
A confined closed greenhouse (CGH) was applied to save energy and to investigate how tomatoes respond to specific microclimatic conditions. As such, new dynamic set-points for precise climate control were used in the CGH compared to those applied in a conventional greenhouse. Based on the reduced ventilation frequency in the CGH, the results showed that higher levels of mean temperature, CO2 concentration and relative humidity were achieved. Although the light interception was increased in the CGH, these changing microclimatic conditions resulted in higher rates of photosynthesis and an associated faster crop growth. This means that the mean plant height was increased by 1.5 m, which was the decisive factor to increase the total yield by 21.4% in relation to that produced in the conventional greenhouse. The new microclimatic environment caused by the CGH promoted the accumulation of primary and secondary plant compounds in tomatoes such as soluble solids (by 9%), lycopene (by 22%), ß-carotene (by 21%), phenolics (by 8%) and L-ascorbic acid (by 26%) compared to conventional produced tomatoes. Compared to existing greenhouse systems, the results suggested that a CGH can be used to produce tomatoes in a sustainable way, where the water use and the energy use efficiency can be improved by 71% and 43%, respectively.
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