Solar radiation levels modify the growth traits and bromatological composition of Cichorium intybus
Shading greenhouse may be an effective method to achieve a suitable environment for crop growth and to enhance crop yield and quality in places or seasons where there is high light intensity. Therefore, solar radiation levels may modify the biomass accumulation and bromatological composition. Different solar radiation levels (100%, 70% and 50% of available solar radiation) were simulated in order to determine crop responses to these factors in chicory (Cichorium intybus L. var. foliosum). A hydroponic experiment was conducted in an experimental greenhouse in the city of Frederico Westphalen, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Plants grown in lower solar radiation levels are more efficient in converting solar radiation into dry matter, had a higher lipid content, increased chlorophyll indices a, b and total, as well as reduced leaf thickness, acid deter- gent fiber, cellulose, and lignin content, presenting more attractive bromato- logical features for commercial production. In this study it was demonstrated that the use of shading screens is an effective method to attenuate the solar radiation, this is especially relevant in places or seasons where there is high light intensity, which contribute to achieve better characteristics of the chicory produced.
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