The benefits of informed management of sunlight in production greenhouses and polytunnels

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Robson , T M , Pieriste , M , Durand , M , Kotilainen , T K & Aphalo , P J 2022 , ' The benefits of informed management of sunlight in production greenhouses and polytunnels ' , Plants, people, planet , vol. 4 , no. 4 , pp. 314-325 .

Title: The benefits of informed management of sunlight in production greenhouses and polytunnels
Author: Robson, T. Matthew; Pieriste, Marta; Durand, Maxime; Kotilainen, Titta K.; Aphalo, Pedro J.
Contributor organization: Canopy Spectral Ecology and Ecophysiology
Viikki Plant Science Centre (ViPS)
Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Plant Biology
Sensory and Physiological Ecology of Plants (SenPEP)
Date: 2022-07
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Plants, people, planet
ISSN: 2572-2611
Abstract: Societal Impact Statement The effective management of light is beneficial for growers of plants in greenhouses, polytunnels and under cloches. The materials and structures used to construct these environments often create light-limited conditions for crops and change the spectral composition of sunlight they receive. Combining practical measures, drawn from knowledge of plant photobiology, allows growers to monitor, forecast and optimise conditions in their growing environment according to its geographical location and the crop grown. Improved management of light through these measures could be expected to improve food quality and yield, and potentially reduce use of energy, water and pesticides. Horticultural production in greenhouses and in polytunnels expands the viable geographic range of many crop species and extends their productive growing season. These semi-controlled growing environments buffer natural fluctuations in heat, cold and light and hold potential to improve food security with a low environmental footprint. Over the last decade, technological advances in cladding materials, smart filters, photo-electric cells for energy production and LED lighting have created opportunities to improve the light environment within these structures. In parallel, there have been large advances in plant photobiology, underpinned by progress in identifying the mechanisms of photomorphogenesis and photoprotection, mediated by plant photoreceptors and their interactions, across regions of the spectrum. However, there remains unexploited potential to synthesise and transfer knowledge from these fields to horticulture, particularly with respect to tailoring the use of sunlight to specific locations and production systems. Here, we systematically explain (1) the value of modelling and monitoring patterns of sunlight to allow for informed design of the growth environment; (2) the means of optimising light conditions through selection of materials and structures; (3) the requirements of different crop plants in terms of the amount and spectral composition of light that will benefit yield and food quality; (4) the potential to combine this knowledge for effective management of the sunlight; and, finally, (5) the additional benefits these actions may bring to growers and society at large, beyond the crops themselves, in terms of water use and energy efficiency.
Subject: controlled plant production
energy efficiency
food security
solar radiation
ultraviolet radiation
11831 Plant biology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc_nd
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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