Effect of two UV-absorbing greenhouse-covering films on growth and yield of an eggplant soilless crop
The use of UV absorbing films as greenhouse cover material is spreading out in protected cultivation. Although their effects on pest and disease management have received much attention, few studies focus on their effects on the crop. This study aims at assessing the consequences of UV absorbing film on the behaviour and production of an eggplant crop by comparing two different UV absorbing films (0 and 3% UV transmittance) to a standard polyethylene film (5% UV transmittance). Results show that the eggplants grown in the greenhouse with 0% transmission to UV light are about 21% taller and have about 17% higher leaf product (leaf length x width) than the plants grown in the greenhouse with 5% transmission to UV light. Finally, given that the production was slightly increased in quantity (20%) and quality (bigger fruits) in the greenhouse with absence of UV light compared to that with 5% transmission coefficient, it can be concluded that growing soilless eggplant under UV-absorbing material can be achieved with the same or better results as under standard covering material. Any other enhancement that the UV-absorbing film will bring (lower pest and disease impact on the crop, lower pesticide load and costs) will therefore be to the benefit of the grower. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.