Effects of nutrient solution EC, plant microclimate and cultivars on fruit quality and yield of hydroponic tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Min Wu, Johann S. Buck, Chieri Kubota

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

39 Scopus citations


Four cultivars (Blitz, Mariachi, Quest and Rapsodie) of tomato were grown hydroponically on rockwool in two microclimates (east and west) inside the greenhouse (Tucson, AZ) under two nutrient solution electrical conductivity (EC) levels (2.6 or 4.5 dS m-1), adjusted by adding NaCl and CaCl2 after the setting of first fruit truss. In all cultivars, total soluble solid (TSS, %Brix at 20oC) and lycopene concentration of fruits increased by 12-23 % and 34-85 %, respectively, with increasing EC level. Fruits harvested from the east side of the greenhouse had higher TSS than those from the west side, due to the different plant microclimate varying by daily PPF (photosynthetic photon flux) and VPD (vapor pressure deficit). However, lycopene concentration in fruits was not significantly affected by plant microclimate regardless of cultivars or EC. The cultivar Mariachi had the strongest effect in response to nutrient solution EC levels regarding both TSS and lycopene concentration among the cultivars examined. The cumulative yield at 7 weeks had no significant differences between nutrient solution EC and locations, regardless of cultivars. The results indicated that value added tomato fruits could be produced by manipulating EC and plant microclimate in the greenhouse without causing yield reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVII International Symposium on Protected Cultivation in Mild Winter Climates
Subtitle of host publicationProduction, Pest Management and Global Competition
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9789066052598
StatePublished - 2004

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
ISSN (Print)0567-7572


  • Cultivar
  • Fruit yield
  • Gas exchange
  • Greenhouse
  • Harvest
  • Lycopene
  • Total soluble solid
  • Vapor pressure deficit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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