Article

Influence of UV absorbing films on yield, quality and pest activity of protected strawberry crops

Abstract

The cultivated strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.) is a highly valuable and economically crucial soft fruit crop. Strawberries are famous due to their particular flavour, colour, quality, and appearance, as well as their nutritional value. They are one of the top ten crops cultivated and consumed in the UK. However, due to the limited season for cultivation but all year demand, there is still a high level of imported fresh produce from other prominent strawberry producing countries both in Europe and worldwide. There is a potential to develop new horticultural films with in-creased UV absorption to reduce pest and disease incidence, improve the yield of strawberries grown under protection and extend the strawberry season in the UK further; this is because insect visualisation and host recognition are influenced by UV radiation, and the life cycle of many fun-gal diseases relies on UV light. Therefore, an experiment was set-up to study the effect of four newly developed UV absorbing horticultural films (ranging from complete UV transmission to complete UV blocking) on strawberry plant growth, yield and fruit quality, as well as pest infestation. Overall, plant growth and fruit quality were largely unaffected by UV absorbance. Still, the yield was enhanced, and the thrips population significantly reduced, which are beneficial outcomes for the strawberry industry. The partially UV absorbing film (UV 370) performed considerably better than other films regarding fruit quality and yield. The completely UV blocking film (UV 400) was serving better initially but degraded after the second peak harvest resulted in reduced performance later. If the UV 400 film could be stabilised to prevent degradation, there is the potential to improve strawberry fruit yield and quality.

Keywords

strawberry, United Kingdom, UV absorption

How to Cite

Kumar, I., (2021) “Influence of UV absorbing films on yield, quality and pest activity of protected strawberry crops”, Science for Sustainability (S4S) Journal 4(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.53466/CCGL5326.S4SKUM2

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Authors

Inder Kumar orcid logo (University of Reading)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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