An Analysis of Global Research Trends on Greenhouse Technology: Towards a Sustainable Agriculture

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 20;17(2):664. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17020664.


Greenhouse farming is an agricultural management system that has demonstrated its efficiency in intensifying food production. These systems constitute a feasible alternative for ensuring food supply, which is one of the greatest challenges faced by humankind in the twenty-first century. Technology has been able to meet the challenges related to greenhouse farming in both contributing to overcoming its limitations, correcting adverse impacts and ensuring system sustainability. The objective of this article is to analyse the global research trends in greenhouse technology over the last two decades, in order to identify the main driving agents, the most outstanding research lines and possible gaps in the literature. Different methodologies have been used for the analysis; both quantitative and qualitative. The principal results show that there are different relevant lines of research related to different aspects of greenhouse farming: the use of water for irrigation, the design of the optimum structure of the greenhouse, conserving the soil in the best growing conditions, energy consumption of the system as a whole, climate control within the facility and pest control. The research is characterized by the being composed largely of ad hoc studies, which hinders the international collaboration between researchers and institutions. The research approach has shifted from being focused on increasing production and cost savings to aspects related to resource conservation and sustainability.

Keywords: bibliometric analysis; climatic control; energy; greenhouse; irrigation; pest; soil; structure; sustainability; technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Farms
  • Food Supply
  • Research / trends*
  • Sustainable Development
  • Technology / trends