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Bell Pepper (Capsicum annum L.) Crop as Affected by Shade Level: Fruit Yield, Quality, and Postharvest Attributes, and Incidence of Phytophthora Blight (caused by Phytophthora capsici Leon.)


Bell Pepper (Capsicum annum L.) Crop as Affected by Shade Level: Fruit Yield, Quality, and Postharvest Attributes, and Incidence of Phytophthora Blight (caused by Phytophthora capsici Leon.)



HortScience 49(7): 891-900



ISSN/ISBN: 0018-5345

High temperatures can be detrimental to bell pepper, resulting in reduced fruit yield and increased incidences of fruit disorders such as sunscald and blossom-end rot. Shade nets are used to modify the crop microenvironment to improve plant growth and yield. The objectives were to evaluate effects of shade level on fruit yield, quality, and postharvest attributes and the incidence of Phytophthora blight (caused by Phytophthora capsici Leon.) in bell pepper (Capsicum annum L.). Experiments were conducted in Tifton, GA, in 2008 (with cv. Heritage) and 2009 and 2010 (with cvs. Camelot, Lafayette, Sirius, and Stiletto). Bell pepper plants were grown under shade levels of 0% (unshaded, as a control), 30%, 47%, 63%, and 80%. Shade level affected fruit yield, quality, postharvest attributes, and incidence of Phytophthora blight in plants. Total marketable (Fancy and US I) fruit yield increased with increasing shade level to a maximum at 35% shade and then decreased with further increments in shade level. Relative to unshaded plants, marketable yields were improved by 119% (2008) and 43% (2009 and 2010) at 35% shade level. US2 and cull (sunscald) fruit number declined with increasing shade level. 'Camelot' produced among the greatest number and yield of marketable fruit; 'Sirius' had the heaviest fruit and greatest number of culls. Fruit nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) concentrations increased and aluminum (Al), molybdenum (Mo), and nickel (Ni) decreased with increasing shade level. 'Lafayette' had the highest fruit concentration of N, calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn). Fruit soluble solids and percent of fruit dry weight decreased with increasing shade level; fruit water loss rate and bacterial soft rot incidence were unaffected. Fruit skin a* and b* values decreased in yellow fruit cultivars ('Lafayette' and 'Sirius') with increased shade level. Incidences of Phytophthora blight in plants and fruit sunscald decreased with shade level. Beneficial effects of shading on bell pepper were associated with a reduction in irradiation, air temperature, and soil temperature under shaded conditions resulting in amelioration of heat stress in the plants. Optimal shade level for maximal fruit yield was that which maximized the cooling effect resulting from reduction of infrared (IR) radiation and minimized the decrease in net photosynthesis resulting from reduction in photosynthetically active radiation (PAR).

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Related references

Bell Pepper (Capsicum annum L.) Crop as Affected by Shade Level: Fruit Yield, Quality, and Postharvest Attributes, and Incidence of Phytophthora Blight (caused by Phytophthora capsici Leon.). HortScience 49(7): 891-900, 2014

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