Vegetable Research Division, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Sciences1
Department of Horticulture, Chonbuk National University2
Fruit Research Division, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Sciences3
Influences of shading and irrigation in summer hot pepper cultivation on the plant growth and mesophyll tissue were investigated. Hot pepper plants were exposed to three shade levels (0, 30 ± 5 and 80 ± 5%) and irrigated or non-irrigated in greenhouse condition. Plant height and leaf area were highest in 30% shading and stem diameter and fresh and dry weights were highest in no shading. Plant growth was better in rain shelters with irrigation than in those without irrigation. The numbers of hot pepper fruits in the beginning of harvest were 49 in rain shelters without irrigation and shading, 22 in those with irrigation and without shading, 5 in those without irrigation with 30% shading, and 1 in those with irrigation and 30% shading. However, 80% shading showed lowest flower number and flower abscission, resulting in no fruit set, regardless of irritation. This is because carbohydrate translocation from leaves to reproductive organs may be not enough for developing fruits due to the lack of sunlight. The yield of hot pepper tended to be higher in rain shelter with irrigation than in those without irrigation. In optical microscopy observation, the thickness and development of mesophyll tissues decreased as increasing the degree of shading but no effect of irrigation on mesophyll tissues was observed. When stomata were observed with scanning electron microscope (SEM), the shape of stomata was normal but tissues surrounding stomata were slightly wrinkled in plants grown under 30% shading. The large number of abnormal stomata and wrinkled leaves was observed among plants grown in rain shelters with 80% shading. In plants grown in rain shelters without irrigation, tissues surrounding stomata were wrinkled and 10-20% decrease in the number of stomata was observed. Therefore, in hot pepper cultivation in summer with high temperature, shading was not effective for fruit yield and mesophyll tissue development; if shading is unavoidable, high degree of shading is not advisable. Further studies are needed for appropriate cultivar selection and environment-control techniques in hot pepper cultivation in summer with high temperature.
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