Study on photo-selective shading screens as a cover for production of purple lettuce

Photo-selective shading screens are emerging practices that aim to combine crop physical protection with different solar radiation filtration to achieve desired physiological responses. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of photo-selective shading screens on the growth and physiology of purple lettuce for two transplanting seasons in tropical climate in Brazil.

A 2 × 4 factorial arrangement was used, being considered the first factor, the transplanting season (spring and fall), and the second factor is the three 35% shading photo-selective shading screens (red, black and silver) and full sun control. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications. The variables studied were: total fresh matter, total dry matter, leaf number, stem diameter, stem length, leaf area, SPAD chlorophyll index, nitrogen balance indexes, chlorophyll, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

The photo-selective shading screens influenced the microclimate and the growth variables of purple lettuce, mainly when these plants were sown in the fall. Planting lettuce during spring may result in lower yields due to the higher investment of plants in secondary metabolites to defend against abiotic stress. According to the results, photo-selective shading screens are an appropriate agronomic technique to reduce phenolic compounds and improve lettuce cultivation conditions and can be implemented within protected cultivation practices to improve crop performance.

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Amaro de Sales, Ramon & Oliveira, Evandro & Buzatto, Eduardo & Almeida, Robson & Lima, Marcus & Berilli, Sávio & Aguiar, Ronilda & Lovo, Mario & Posse, Robson & Santos, Joana & Quartezani, Waylson & Salles, Rodrigo & Siman, Felipe. (2021). Photo-selective shading screens as a cover for production of purple lettuce. Scientific Reports. 11. 10.1038/s41598-021-94437-5. 

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