Intensive growing systems used for greenhouse tomato production, together with light interception by cladding materials or other devices, may induce intracanopy mutual shading and create suboptimal environmental conditions for plant growth. There are a large number of published peer-reviewed studies assessing the effects of supplemental light-emitting diode (LED) lighting on improving light distribution in plant canopies, increasing crop yields and producing qualitative traits. However, the research results are often contradictory, as the lighting parameters (e.g., photoperiod, intensity, and quality) and environmental conditions vary among conducted experiments. This research presents a global overview of supplemental LED lighting applications for greenhouse tomato production deepened by a meta-analysis aimed at answering the following research question: does supplemental LED lighting enhance the yield and qualitative traits of greenhouse truss tomato production? The meta-analysis was based on the differences among independent groups by comparing a control value (featuring either background solar light or solar + HPS light) with a treatment value (solar + supplemental LED light or solar + HPS + supplemental LED light, respectively) and included 31 published papers and 100 total observations. The meta-analysis results revealed the statistically significant positive effects (p-value < 0.001) of supplemental LED lighting on enhancing the yield (+40%), soluble solid (+6%) and ascorbic acid (+11%) contents, leaf chlorophyll content (+31%), photosynthetic capacity (+50%), and leaf area (+9%) compared to the control conditions. In contrast, supplemental LED lighting did not show a statistically significant effect on the leaf stomatal conductance (p-value = 0.171). In conclusion, in addition to some partial inconsistencies among the considered studies, the present research enables us to assert that supplemental LED lighting ameliorates the quantitative and qualitative aspects of greenhouse tomato production.
Keywords: LED; Solanum lycopersicum; greenhouse; interlighting; supplemental light.
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