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Sweet Grape tomatoes

Luminous supplementation

LED-lit sweet grape tomatoes in a greenhouse at ESALQ: 15% higher yield

ESALQLED-lit sweet grape tomatoes in a greenhouse at ESALQ: 15% higher yieldESALQ

In an effort to increase the yield of greenhouse-grown miniature tomatoes, researchers at the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP), advised by Professor Simone da Costa Mello, are testing the use of light-emitting diode (LED) bars to supplement the solar radiation received by the plants. “The LED lights are placed in the lower portion of the tomato plant’s leaf canopy, where the plants are most affected by self-shading and suffer faster leaf aging due to the reduction in luminosity,” says Mello. LED grow lights are already used in Europe for the production of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and roses. The research at ESALQ was triggered by a request from Philips Brazil. “The company asked us to research the use of LEDs under tropical and subtropical climate conditions,” says Mello. In April 2014, sweet grape tomatoes were planted in a climate-controlled greenhouse composed of two modules, one with LED bars emitting light in the 465 nanometer (blue) and 667 nanometer (red) wavelengths and the other without these devices. The light from the LEDs contributes to photosynthesis, an essential process for the vegetative growth and reproduction of plants. The tomatoes will be picked in December, and initial results indicate a 15% higher yield among the plants that received extra light.