Air temperature and illumination during transportation affect quality of mature tomato seedlings

Chieri Kubota, Mark Kroggel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Increasing numbers of greenhouse vegetable growers purchase transplants from specialized transplant propagators. Possible deterioration of transplants during transportation limits the market size as well as the potential sources of high-quality transplants. To determine the best conditions for transportation of seedlings, tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., cv. Durinta) seedlings with visible flower trusses were placed for 4 days inside growth chambers to evaluate the effects of short-term exposure to different air temperatures (6, 13, or a conventional transportation temperature of 19°C) under darkness or illumination at 12 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF. Plants were evaluated for visual quality, photosynthetic ability, growth, and fruit yield. Lower temperatures and illumination significantly maintained visual quality of the seedlings. Lower temperature maintained high photosynthetic ability of seedlings during the 4-day treatment. After transplanting in the greenhouse, a significant number of trusses exhibited flower abortion or delayed fruit development when seedlings were treated at 19°C regardless of light intensity. Results suggested that 6 to 13°C was the best transportation temperature for up to 4 days, which was later validated by an actual transportation trial between British Columbia and Arizona.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1640-1644
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Controlled environment
  • Ethylene
  • Flower abortion
  • Greenhouse
  • Lycopersicon esculentum
  • Shipping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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