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PLUG PRODUCTION AND EVALUATION OF

DIFFERENT SOILLESS SYSTEMS AND


SUBSTRATES FOR CULTIVATION OF
STRAWBERRY (Fragaria ananassa Duch.) cv.
STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL

FRAIDOON
PHK 914

DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE
UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
BANGALORE
2011
PLUG PRODUCTION AND EVALUATION OF
DIFFERENT SOILLESS SYSTEMS AND
SUBSTRATES FOR CULTIVATION OF
STRAWBERRY (Fragaria ananassa Duch.) cv.
STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL

FRAIDOON
PHK 914

Thesis submitted to the


University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru
In partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the award of the Degree of

MASTER OF SCIENCE (Horticulture)


in
FRUIT SCIENCES

BANGALORE SEPTEMBER, 2011


Affectionately
Dedicated To
My Beloved Sisters
& Brothers

DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE
UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
BANGALORE 65
CERTIFICATE

This is to certify that the thesis entitled PLUG PRODUCTION AND


EVALUATION OF DIFFERENT SOILLESS SYSTEMS AND
SUBSTRATES FOR CULTIVATION OF STRAWBERRY (Fragaria
ananassa Duch.) cv. STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL submitted by
Mr. FRAIDOON, ID No. PHK 914, in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the award of the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE
(Horticulture) in FRUIT SCIENCES to the University of Agricultural
Sciences, Bangalore, is a record of research work carried out by him
during the period of his study under my guidance and supervision, and
that no part of the thesis has been submitted for the award of any other
degree, diploma, associateship, fellowship or other similar titles.

Place: Bangalore
Date: October, 2011 (B.N.S. MURTHY)
Chairman of advisory committee

Approved by
Chairman : __________________
(B.N.S. MURTHY)

Members : 1. __________________
(G.K. MUKUNDA)

2. __________________
(R.H. LAXMAN)

3. __________________
(S. JAGANNATH)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

First, I earnestly praise the Almighty the most gracious merciful


who enabled me to complete this thesis.

Gratitude takes three forms A feeling from heart, an expression in


words and a giving in return, I sincerely thank all those who directly
made this thesis possible.

It is my privilege in expressing my sincere and heartful gratitude to


my honourable Advisor Dr. B.N.S. Murthy, Pr. Scientist, Division of fruit
crops, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore for his constant
encouragement, parental affection, keen interest and pain staking efforts
taken during the entire course of investigation right from the selection of
problem till the shaping of manuscript of my thesis. I consider myself lucky
to have been his student.

I equally avail this opportunity to express my deep sense of


gratitude to Dr. G.K. Mukunda, Professor of Horticulture (Fruit Sci.),
Department of Horticulture UAS, G.KV.K, Bangalore, Dr. R.H. Laxman,
Sr. Scientist (Physiol.) Indian Institute of Horticultural Research Bangalore,
Dr. S. Jagannath, Special officer College of Horticulture, Mysore
University of Horticultural Sciences Bagalakot, for their best knowledge
and responsible scientific advices poured on me during the execution and
realization of this venture till the last minute.

I am very much grateful to Dr. K. Kempe Gowda, Professor and


Head, Department of Horticulture and all the staff of the Division of
Horticulture, UAS, GKVK, Bangalore for their support and suggestions
during the course of my investigation.

I avail this opportunity to express my deep and profound sense of


gratitude to the Ministry of Higher Education, Islamic Republic of
Afghanistan and Alberoni University, which provided the opportunity
for me to undergo post-graduation study.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to USDA for their


financially support throughout my degree program.

With sense of pride and dignity, I would sincerely thank my dear


Friends Mr. Abdul Qayom Rezaee, Mr. Dawlat Shah Poyesh, Mr.
Hameedullah Zarin, Mr. Dawood Hidari, Mr. Ab.Aziz Saber, Mr. Asmatulah
Qarizada, Mr. Shafigul Shafiqi, Mr. Ghulam Rasool Fazli, Mr. Hussain
Rasikh, Mr. Hossein Mohammadi, Mr. M. Mosa Obaidi, Ms. S. Yashaswini,
Dr. P. Vinaya Kumar Reddy, Mr. V.S. John Sunoj and all other friends who
helped me during my research work.

Family is extremely important to me in all likelihood because I am


blessed to have such a wonderful one. My beloved Sisters and Brothers
who have showered me with their love and have been source of constant
encouragement throughout my educational career, without which I would
not have reached the present destination.

It is a pity my Mother and Father passed away and did not see this
day. At least they lived long enough to know I would get here. Their
intelligence, compassion and love of books are deep within me and provide
a lifelong inspiration. I miss them.

I also wish to express my indebtedness to all whose names might


have been left over but without whose help my thesis would not have seen
the light of the day.

Bangalore
October, 2011 (FRAIDOON)
Plug production and evaluation of different soilless systems and
substrates for cultivation of strawberry (Fragaria ananassa Duch.),
cv. Strawberry Festival

ABSTRACT

The investigation was carried out at the Division of Fruit Crops,


Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) Bangalore, India during
2010-11 on strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival to find out the effect of
explant and media on plug growth. The studies were extended to
determine the suitable system and media for quality fruit production in
soilless culture.

The explant (first and second order nodes and runner tip) did not
affect most of biometric characters of plug. However, the highest per cent
establishment (89) was observed from first order node. Higher number of
roots (12.33) and leaves (5.48), larger crown diameter (7.32 mm) and
higher shoot and root fresh and dry weight were observed when plugs
produced in coco peat + perlite (1:1, v/v).

The results of soilless culture of strawberry indicated that plants


performed best in Open-trough as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag and Verti-
Gro systems. Maximum leaf area (2478.66 cm2), crown diameter (33.75
mm), highest shoot (60.97 g) and root (16.50g) fresh weight, highest
shoot (21.10 g) and root (5.74 g) dry weight, highest fruit weight per plant
(281.83 g) and marketable fruits (78.33 %) recorded in Open-trough.
Further, highest number of leaves (37.16), leaf area (2199.82 cm2),
larger crown diameter (30.50 mm), fruit weight per plant (209.92 g) and
marketable fruits (61.91%) was recorded when plants were grown using
60% coco peat +40% perlite (v/v). Maximum leaf area (2002.64 cm2),
crown diameter (31.00 mm), fruit weight per plant (194.60 g), marketable
fruits (63.33) and highest TSS (10.51 B) and lowest acidity (0.81 %) was
observed in first tier as compared to lower section of the Verti-Gro
system.

Signature of the student Signature of major advisor

(FRAIDOON) (B.N.S. MURTHY)


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CONTENTS

Chapter Title Page No.

I INTRODUCTION 1-3

II REVIEW OF LITERATURE 4-24

III MATERIALS AND METHODS 25-37

IV EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS 38-72

V DISCUSSION 73-102

VI SUMMARY 103-108

VII REFERENCES 109-120

APPENDICES
LIST OF TABLES

Table Page
Title
No. No.

Growth and per cent establishment of strawberry plugs


1 cv. Strawberry Festival as influenced by media and 43
explant types

Growth and per cent establishment of strawberry plugs


1a cv. Strawberry Festival as influenced by interaction 44
effect between media and explant types

Petiole and leaf characters of strawberry cv. Strawberry


2 Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as 46
influenced by soilless culture systems

Fresh and dry biomass and crown diameter of


strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively
3 48
ventilated greenhouse as influenced by soilless culture
systems

Flower initiation and yield parameters of strawberry cv.


4 Strawberry Festival grown in passively ventilated 51
greenhouse as influenced by soilless culture systems

Size and quality of fruits of strawberry cv. Strawberry


5 Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as 52
influenced by soilless culture systems

Gas exchange and photosyntheticaly active radiation


parameters of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown
6 54
in passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by
soilless culture systems

Petiole and leaf characters of strawberry cv. Strawberry


7 Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as 56
influenced by media in Lay-Flat-Bag soilless system

Fresh and dry biometric and crown characters of


strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively
8 58
ventilated greenhouse as influenced by media in Lay-
Flat-Bag soilless system
Table Page
Title
No. No.

Flower initiation and fruit characters of strawberry cv.


Strawberry Festival grown in passively ventilated
9 60
greenhouse as influenced by media in Lay-Flat-Bag
soilless system

Fruit size and quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry


10 Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as 61
influenced by media in Lay-Flat-Bag soilless system

Petiole and leaf characters of strawberry cv. Strawberry


Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as
11 64
influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless
culture system

Fresh and dry biomass and crown diameter of


strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively
12 65
ventilated greenhouse as influenced by tier position in
the Verti-Gro soilless culture system

Flower initiation and yield of Strawberry cv. Strawberry


Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as
13 67
influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless
culture system

Fruit size and quality of Strawberry cv. Strawberry


Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as
14 68
influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless
culture system

Gas exchange and photosynthaticaly active radiation


parameters of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown
15 72
in passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by tier
position in the Verti-Gro soilless culture system
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Between
Title
No. Pages

Diagrammatic representation of strawberry plant


1 4-5
showing different parts

Layout plan of studies on effect of media and explant


2 types on plug production of strawberry cv. 27-28
Strawberry Festival

Layout plan of studies on effect of soilless culture


3 systems on growth, yield and fruit quality of 30-31
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival

4 Cross-section diagram of soilless culture systems 30-31

Layout plan of studies on effect of soilless media on


5 growth, yield and fruit quality of strawberry cv. 31-32
Strawberry Festival

Layout plan of studies on effect of tier position in


6 Verti-Gro soilless culture system on growth, yield and 32-33
fruit quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival

Biomass characters of strawberry plug cv.


7 Strawberry Festival as influenced by interaction 44-45
effect between media and explant types

Total soluble solids (B) and acidity (%) of fruits of


8 Strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival as influenced by 52-53
soilless culture systems

Flower initiation of strawberry cv. Strawberry


9 52-53
Festival as influenced by soilless culture systems

Light incidence on leaf surface of strawberry cv.


10 Strawberry Festival at 110 and 120 DATP as 54-55
influenced by soilless culture systems

Photosynthetic rate of strawberry plant cv.


11 Strawberry Festival at 110 and 120 DATP as 54-55
influenced by soilless culture systems
Figure Between
Title
No. Pages

Total soluble solids (B) and Acidity (%) of


Strawberry fruits cv. Strawberry Festival as
12 69-70
influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro
soilless culture system

Flower initiation of strawberry cv. Strawberry


13 Festival as influenced by tier position in the 69-70
Verti-Gro soilless culture system

Light incidence on leaf surface of strawberry plants


cv. Strawberry Festival at 110 and 120 DATP as
14 72-73
influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless
culture system

Photosynthetic rate of strawberry plants cv.


Strawberry Festival at 110 and 120 DATP as
15 72-73
influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless
culture system
LIST OF PLATES

Plate Between
Title
No. Pages

Pictorial representation of strawberry plant showing


1 4-5
different parts

Field grown mother plants of strawberry cv.


2 Strawberry Festival used for plug production 27-28
studies

Explant types used for plug production of


3 27-28
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival

Substrates used for plug production of strawberry


4 27-28
cv. Strawberry Festival

5 Tray used for plug production studies 27-28

General view of soilless culture systems used for


6 31-32
soilless culture studies

Substrates mixtures used for soilless culture


7 31-32
studies

General view of soilless growing systems at 80 days


8 61-62
after transplanting

Effect of soilless media types on the growth of


9 61-62
strawberry plants at 80 days after transplanting

Plug produced from first order node on 50% coco


10 72-73
peat +50 % perlite (v/v)

Strawberry plants growth and development in


11 Open-trough and Verti-Gro systems at 95 days 72-73
after transplanting
INTRODUCTION
I. INTRODUTION

Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa Duch.) is a perennial, low-creeping,


stoloniferous herb belonging to the family Rosaceae. It is basically a
temperate fruit crop, widely distributed due to its genotypic diversity,
high heterozygous nature and broad range of environmental adaptations
(Sharma and Sharma, 2004). The cultivated strawberry of todays
commercial market is result of cross between Scarlet (Fragaria virginiana
Duch.) and the Chilean (Fragaria chileonsis Duch.) in early seventeen
century in France (Galletta and Bringhurst, 1990). It has a unique,
highly desirable taste and flavour and is one of the most popular fruits
around the world (Sturm et al., 2003).

The history of the strawberry goes back as far as the Romans and
perhaps even the Greeks before the Christian era and now it is produced
in 71 countries worldwide under 5,06,000 acres (Sakila et al., 2007). In
India it was first introduced by the National Bureau of Plant Genetic
Resources, Regional Research Station, Shimla in early sixties and now
being grown in Himachal Pradesh, Uttranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab,
Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra (Sharma and Sharma, 2004).
More recently, it is being grown in Karnataka in a very limited area under
the moderate weather conditions of Dharwad, Belgaum, Shimoga
districts and even under little higher temperature of Bidar district.
Earlier to this, attempts were made to cultivate strawberry under the hot
and dry climatic conditions of Gulbarga district (Jagadeesh, 2001). World
production of strawberry in the year 2009 was 41,78,152 metric ton of
which the top 5 producing countries are United States with 12,70,690
metric ton share, followed by Turkey 2,91,996 metric ton, Spain
2,63,700 metric ton, Mexico 2,33,041metric ton and South Korea
2,03,227 metric ton (FAO, 2009).
Strawberry plants are clonally propagated by means of runners
and are generally transplanted as cold-stored bare-root plants (Frigo).
However, Frigo plants are often of low quality with relatively low
carbohydrate content, root and crown infections with serious fungal
plant pathogens such as Phytophthora, Verticillium and Colletotrichum.
Hence, has poor performance after transplanting (Lopez et al., 2002). The
development of a strawberry plug could eliminate many of the problems
associated with frigo transplants. Plug offer several benefits including
easier planting, better establishment, fewer pests and diseases, and
lower water use during plant establishment. Plugs also offer the potential
for mechanical planting (Menzel, 2007).

Commercial production of strawberry crops through the 19 th and


20th century escalated rapidly as strawberry became more popular. Huge
quantity of fresh fruit are consumed every year, but there are also
opportunities for the use of second grade berries in frozen, juiced, dried
and processed products (Ballard, 2000). There is also an increasing
interest in the health properties of strawberries. This helps to promote
year round strawberry sale which has been made possible through
soilless cultivation (Morgan, 2006). Soilless plant production has been
practiced for several millennia and it permits crops to be grown where no
suitable soil exists or where the soil is contaminated in some manner.
Maximum yields are possible and this makes the system economically
feasible in high-density and expensive land areas. Future growth of
soilless culture will depend on the development of production systems
and substrates that are competitive in costs and returns with
conventional agriculture (Takeda, 2000).

Strawberry plant growth and fruit yield are dependent on the type
of growing container used and the configuration or arrangement of the
containers. The volume and dimensions of containers not only affect the
physical characteristics such as aeration and water holding capacity of
soilless media and plant growth, but also affect the cost, which may
impact production costs (Cantliffe et al., 2001).

Greenhouse structures are very expensive to set up, that is why it


is so important to use the volume of the greenhouse to increase yield per
square meter. The only way to utilize the greenhouse volume with
strawberry production is to set up a vertical production system (Linsley-
Noakes et al., 2006). Planting density can be increased three times by
using a vertical system as compared to horizontal systems (Ozeker et al.,
1999), but have problems with suboptimal environ-mental conditions in
the lower sections, resulting in reduced yield and plant growth (Takeda,
2000). Therefore, it is important to find the most suitable production
system in soilless culture to maximize the utilization and distribution of
light as well as media within the system to enhance the production
without affecting the fruit quality. Keeping all these benefits and
constraints in view, the present investigation was conducted with the
following objectives:

1) To investigate the effect of runner node order explant and different


rooting media on plug growth of strawberry cv. Strawberry
Festival.

2) To study the effect of different soilless culture systems on growth,


yield and quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival.

3) To examine the different types of media on growth, yield and fruit


quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival in Lay-Flat-Bag
soilless system.

4) To study the effect of tier position in the vertically growing system


(Verti-Gro) of soilless culture on growth, yield and fruit quality of
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Weather strawberry is grown conventionally or by manipulation of


technological methods, the goal is to increase yield, quality and
marketability of berries. Growers being recognized the advantages of plug
over conventional bare-root transplants. Hence, plug production of
strawberry increased rapidly in last three decades, since it was first
commercially used in 1970s, in many parts of the world and India. Most
production areas of field grown plants in India have contamination
problems in some manner or other. Hence, to reduce the production cost
and to increase the yield and quality of strawberry, the soilless culture
can be a suitable alternative.

In India literature with regard to plug production and soilless


culture of strawberry is very limited. Hence, developing new
protocols are required. The available literature pertaining to the
work done by many research workers on plug production and
soilless culture of strawberry along with its related topics have been
reviewed and presented in this chapter under the following
headings.

2.1 Botany and habit

The strawberry plant (Fig. 1) is a low creeping, perennial herb with


a compressed stem (crown) and very short internodes (Galletta and
Bringhurst, 1990). Crown is a shortened stem from which all leaves,
roots, flowers and runners grow (Bowling, 2000). According to Maas
(1984), crown can be one, two or more per plant, depending on the age
and stage of development. New plant normally consists of a single crown,
while two to three year old plants might have multiple crowns both
auxiliary and branch crowns. The leaves are trifoliate, and each sixth leaf
is just above the first, that is for the maximum light exposure and
normally live for 1 to 3 months (Sharma and Sharma, 2004).
Plate 1. Pictorial representation of strawberry plant showing
different parts

FT

C R

DP YR BC
L= Trifoliate Leaf
FT= Fruit Truss
R= Runner
C= Crown
DP= Daughter Plant
YR= Young Roots
MR BC= Branch Crown
MR= Mature Roots

Fig. 1. Diagrammatic representation of strawberry plant showing


different parts
Runners (daughter plants) which are used for commercial
propagation of strawberry, that is a creeping stalk produced in the new
leaf axil of the plant and grows out from the parent plant (Sharma and
Sharma, 2004). Majority (50-90 %) of primary and feeder roots are
usually located in the top 6 inches of the soil (Ballard, 2000).

Flowers are produced on a modified stem (truss) on which four


type of flowers produced. Following the primary flower there are typically
two secondaries, four tertiaries and eight quaternaries. This results into
a highly branched flower stem or truss structure (Hancock, 1999). These
flowers open gradually after primary flowers, so in ideal environmental
conditions and pollination, a successive fruit harvest can be obtained
from each flower truss (Morgan, 2006).

The strawberry characteristically have superior ovaries called


achenes which are true (botanical) fruits present on the fleshy
receptacles which together making the aggregate fruit. The embryo
consists of two large, semi elliptical cotyledons, which contain protein
and fat, but no starch. The receptacle is composed of an epidermal layer,
a cortex and pith. The latter two layers are separated by vascular bundles
that supply nutrients to the developing embryos (Hancock, 1999).

There are primarily two types of strawberries now grown


commercially the day-neutral (multiple cropping) and short-day (June
bearers also called single cropping) plants while the long day is also exist
(Bowling, 2000).

Flowering and fruit set in strawberry depends to the microclimates


from which they originate. Most initiate flower buds in response to day-
length. This response can be enhanced or subdued by temperature
effects. The most temperature sensitive group is the June bearers.
However, the day neutral varieties are least temperature sensitive
(Ballard, 2000). The short day types are actually facultative short day
plants and initiate flower buds under short day conditions (less than 14h)
or when temperatures are less than 15 C. Long-day plants initiate their
flower buds when day lengths are more than 12h and temperatures are
moderate. Day neutral plants produce crowns and flower buds
approximately three months after planting, regardless of day length. They
initiate flower buds throughout the growing season, although high
temperatures can inhibit bud formation as in short day plants (Bowling,
2000).

Runners in both short day and day neutral cultivars tend to be


formed during the longer summer days until the day length shortens in the
autumn. Leaves in all type of strawberry plants are produced continually
during the growing season, but excessively hot or cold conditions (below 5
C or above 30 C) can inhibit leaf development. Crown formation in all
strawberry type tends to increase under cool, short days (Morgan, 2006).
As reported by Awang and Atherton (1995), low light level cause longer
petiole formation.

2.2 Fruit development and ripening

Strawberry is widely considered a high value crop because of huge


demand. The fruits are rich in vitamin C, iron, and potassium besides
fiber. Strawberry also been credited with cancer-fighting compounds
(Stoner et al., 1999). For hundreds of years homeopathic practitioners
have used strawberry fruits in the treatment of rheumatism, anaemia,
diabetes and kidney and liver complaints. Fresh strawberry removes
teeth stains, relieves sunburn and reduces freckles. Strawberry preserves
and jellies are widely used worldwide (Broom and Goff, 1987).

Whether grown in the field (soil) or in the greenhouse (soilless


culture) the goal is to produce a colorful, flavorful, and marketable fruits.
The ripening of strawberry fruit is accompanied by changes in colour,
texture and flavour that give the fruit its unique characteristics
(Manning, 1997). Strawberries are non climacteric fruit, the application
of ethylene has little effect on the softening and flavour development of
immature fruit, hence the fruit should be harvested when fully matured
(Abeles and Takeda, 1990). Strawberry ripening is associated with
numerous biochemical changes including increases in pectins,
hemicellulose and several other enzymes linked with anthocyanin and
fatty acid production (Hancock, 1999).

2.3 Factors influencing growth, yield and fruit quality

Light intensity increases net photosynthesis assimilating rate. High


temperature causes low stomatal conductance that reduces transpiration
rate and the plant body cooling capacity (Nobel, 1999). Hence, heating of
leaves will reduce plant photosynthetic capacity. Higher relative humidity
(RH) also sharply reduced the stomatal conductance hence photosynthesis
net assimilation rate. There was a common linear relationship between
photosynthesis and transpiration rate because stomatal conductance
controls CO2 and H2O vapor exchange between leaf and environment, has
positive relationship between photosynthesis net assimilating rate and
transpiration rate (Bazzaz, 1996). Manipulation of flowering in strawberry
by different light intensities and quality has been broadly reported in the
literature. Under high light intensity (650 300 mol/m2/s) provided by
incandescent bulb, (improved mercury vapor, and sodium vapor lamps), the
wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.) produced significantly more flowers per
plant than at lower light intensities (22 or 150 300 mol/m2/s) (Chabot,
1978).

According to Awang and Atherton (1995), low irradiance decreased


total leaf growth, total leaf area, dry weight and number of crowns per
plant. Shading also has strong inhibitory effects on floral development. It
can reduce the number of inflorescences per plant, as well as the number
of flowers and fruits per inflorescence. Fruit yield under shaded
conditions can also be lower. According to Miura et al. (1993), fruits of
strawberry plants under a black net with a 60 per cent light
transmittance took longer to reach the full red stage and were smaller
than fruits without shade treatment.

Eearly fruit growth up to one month after transplanting is heavily


dependent on carbohydrate resaved in root and crown of strawberry
(Nishizawa and Shishido, 1998). Photosynthesis net assimilates only
supply 25 per cent of the carbohydrates required for the first 7 days of
berry growth. This indicates that crown size should be taken into account
when selecting planting stock. Management techniques that allow
maximum development of the root system, crown health and good foliage
development are important to support later fruit set and overall fruit size.
Early flower removal is a common practice that can be used to support
foliage development in planting stock with smaller crown diameter
(Takeda, 2000).

Elevated temperatures have a negative effect on fruit size and


quality because of its high respiration rate, high surface to volume ratio
and thin cuticle (Hancock, 1999). Draper et al. (1981) found that
strawberries harvested in cool spring temperatures were two times bigger
than fruit harvested in the hot summer. Any conditions such as limited
leaf area, low light/temperature ratio or plant diseases that limit
photosynthesis can have a negative effect on fruit size and can even
cause flower shedding before fruit set. Small fruit size is a common
problem with plants grown in low light conditions. This problem can be
overcome by the use of artificial light and CO 2 enrichment to boost
photosynthesis (Morgan, 2006).
The malformation of fruit is common in strawberry and is because of
interruption of hormonal balance during achene maturation. This
interruption can be due to incomplete fertilization or death of the achenes
from any one of a number of pathogenic or nonpathogenic causes (e.g.,
infertile pollen, frost injury, low light intensity, insect attack or pathogenic
fungal attack of flower parts) (Maas, 1984). According to Morgan (2006),
high temperature (above 26 C) resulted in loss of pollen viability.
Pollination occurs but pollen germination and subsequent fertilization
may not occur or only happen at retarded rates, resulting in uneven
achene development and berry growth. Low light intensity shortly before
and during flowering is considered one of the main reasons for anther
and pollen degeneration and therefore an increase in malformation
(Smeets, 1980). As reported by Villiers (2008) that, malformation of fruits
increased by increase in shading percentage from 0 to 50per cent.
Nutritional disorders like zinc, boron and copper deficiencies and
excessive nitrogen can also affect fruit development and shape (Maas,
1984). Awad et al. (2010) reported that, due to adequate level of nitrogen
absorbed by plants, it increased vegetative growth hence the
photosynthesis rate which consequently resulted in enhanced
marketable fruits.

Occasionally, the fruits with normal size and appearance, but with
a lack of colour and flavour which is called albino fruits are produced.
They are soft and rot quickly after harvest. The primary cause of albino
fruits production is suboptimal translocation of sugar to the fruit during
maturation. This may occur during periods of peak fruit production
preceded by warm weather and cloudy skies. Excess nitrogen levels led to
rapid vegetative growth and low translocation of sugar to the developing
fruit (Maas, 1984).
Manipulation of flowering in strawberry by different light intensities
and quality has been broadly reported. When additional light from high-
intensity discharge mercury lamps with an intensity of (300 mol/m2/s)
was provided, a gain in earliness of 10 to 15 days of fruit production was
achieved in strawberry cv. Primella (Ceulemans et al., 1986). Miura et al.
(1993) reported that fruits subjected to shading took longer to reach the
full red stage compared to unshaded fruits. According to Villiers (2008),
shading had increased the number of days from anthesis to harvest from
a mean of 42.02 days to a mean of 44.78 days as the percentage shading
was increased from 0-50 per cent. With 20 per cent shading it took fruits
an average of 44.08 days to develop from anthesis to harvest, but this did
not differ significantly from fruits of unshaded plants.

Shading did not have a significant effect on the average fruit size,
even though a slight decrease in fruit size was observed with an increase in
shading from 0 to 50 per cent. Whereas, the number of fruits produced
per plant were decreased significantly as the percentage shading was
increased. Unshaded plants produced on average 21.23 fruits compared
to the 17.67 fruits produced by plants subjected to 50 per cent shading
(Villiers, 2008).

Yield per plant decreased significantly as the percentage shading


was increased from 0 to 20 per cent and from 20 to 50 per cent (Villiers
2008). Awang and Atherton (1995) also reported a yield decline for plants
subjected to shading. The observed yield decreased due to shading
treatments applied was lower than expected, 20 and 50 per cent shading
treatments only caused a 9.2 and 21.7 per cent decrease in yield
respectively. One of the reasons for this low yield decline might be due to
the mobilization of carbohydrates from other sources.

Flavor is a complex combination of both taste and smell. For the


strawberry, flavor quality has been linked to the sugar:acid ratio. As the
fruit matures, the sugars increase and the acids decrease. Sugars may
arise from imports, on site synthesis, or starch hydrolysis. They are
mostly glucose and fructose, 83 per cent in total ripe fruit sugars.
Glucose and fructose are found in almost equal concentrations (Maas et
al., 1996). The sugars are precursors to flavor compounds, such as
furanones, and for color compounds, i.e. anthocyanins. The acids are
thought to decrease through one or more of the following: the
tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA), respiratory metabolism, and/or by dilution
as the fruit cells enlarge and hold more water (Ballard, 2000).

Sweetness is a function of sugar quantity and type. Therefore, the


relative sugar composition is an important factor that affects fruit quality
(Hamano et al., 2002). Levels of sugar rise continuously during fruit
development from 5per cent in small green fruit to 6-9 per cent in mature
berries (Spayd and Morris, 1981). Sucrose levels are generally much
lower and only start to accumulate around the middle of fruit
development (Hancock, 1999). Sugar content and composition is
dependent upon the ripening stage, cultivar and growth conditions
(Hamano et al, 2002). The average sugar level of strawberry fruit is
around a Brix of 8 to 10, which gives acceptable flavour (Hancock, 1999).
According to Miura et al. (1993), shaded fruits had lower levels of
fructose, glucose and sucrose as compared to unshaded fruits. The pH of
strawberry fruit remains at about 3.5 during fruit development, although
titratable acidity, representing predominantly organic acids like citric
and malic acid, gradually drops during fruit development (Spayd and
Morris, 1981). Vasilakakis et al. (2005) reported that, the total soluble
solids of strawberry fruits increased along with increase in light
intensity. High total soluble solids per cent of fruits noticed during
reduced fruit load per plant. Titratable acidity varied between percentage
of 0.8 and 1.8 and was negatively affected by the plant fruit load.
According to Awang and Atherton (1995), the effect of shading on the
concentration of reducing sugars was dependant on salinity. At an
electrical conductivity (EC) of 2.6 mS/cm there was no difference between
shaded and unshaded plants, but the reducing sugar concentration was
much higher in unshaded plants at ECs of 5.9 and 8.6 mS/cm be
maintained between 5.8 and 6, to facilitate maximum uptake of elements
(Morgan, 2006). In some countries hydroponic strawberries are provided
with artificial supplementary light to boost production and sugar levels
during months of low light intensities.

2.4 PLUG PRODUCTION STUDIES

Plugs are rapidly replacing fresh-dug bare-root and cold-stored


daughter plants (frigo) as transplants for strawberry (Fragaria ananassa
Duch.) production worldwide. Plugs have many advantages over these
other type of propagules. They are grown in controlled environments
(greenhouses, tunnels) in less time than field produced bare-root
transplants, and are not exposed to soil borne pathogens. Plugs afford
greater grower control of transplanting dates, provide mechanical
transplanting opportunities and allow improved water management for
transplant establishment relative to fresh bare-root plants. New uses for
plugs have been identified in recent years; for example, photoperiod and
temperature conditioned plugs flower and fruit earlier than traditional
transplants and plugs have been used for programmed greenhouse
production. Plugs have superior cold storage characteristics relative to
bare-root (Durner et al., 2002).

Two types of plant material, plug and frigo transplants of late


ripening cv. Raurica were compared for growth and fruit production. It
was found that plug had significantly more growth as compared to the
frigo plants. Cold stored tray plants in the open field generally showed
great potential (Duralija et al., 2006). Cold stored plantlets cv. Mara des
Bois had a better canopy and more crowns than fresh runners
(Lutchoomun, 1999)

2.4.1 Effect of explant type on growth of plug

Takeda et al. (2004) found that, plugs developed from nodes in


further distance from the mother plants reduced the ability of producing
a satisfactory vegetative growth. Bartczak et al. (2007) reported that,
bigger crown diameter (14.2 mm) in cv. Elsanta and (13.4mm) in cv.
Honeoye, higher number of leaves and higher plug weight produced
from daughter plants which were the first ones on the mother plant
stolon in comparison with those obtained from the third.

Investigation conducted by Turkben (2008) to determine the effects


of different runner order node on plug production of different cultivars of
strawberry. Runner plants of strawberry cvs. Brio, Selva, Pocahontas,
Redchief and Tufts were layered in conical yellow pots. Within the
cultivars, the best results were obtained from the second node in cv.
Brio from the first node; in cvs. Pocahontas and Tufts from the first
nodes in cv. Redchief. In cv. Selva the best result obtained from first
and second order node as compared to third order node. The crown
diameter was higher in plugs produced from first nodes in all cultivars
except cv. Red Chief. Runner node order did not affect fresh and dry
weight of plugs. Root length was higher in second order node. According
to Anna and Iapichino (2002), there was no evidence of enhanced rooting
ability of terminal runner tips in two strawberry cultivars compare to
runner nodes.

Daughter plant weight (<0.9 to >1.0g) and position on the runner


affected new root development on plug plants during the first 7 days
under mist irrigation. At 3 weeks, 87per cent of daughter plants that
weighted <0.9 g and at least 96 per cent of daughter plant that weighted
>1.0g were rated acceptable for field transplanting, respectively. Average
weight declined with increasing nodes position on the runner. Daughter
plants produced from nodes were more mature than the runner tips.
Larger daughter plants produced more branch crowns than did smaller
daughter plants in the fall (Takeda et al., 2004). According to Boxus et al.
(1984), large quantities of transplants can be produced from tissue
cultured strawberry plants. However, the weight of daughter plants may
vary and all daughter plants may not be viable for transplanting success.
Daughter plant at the second order node showed early signs of
adventitious root development at its base (Poling and Parker, 1990).

2.4.2 Effect of media type on growth of plug

Reported by Turkben (2008) that rooting media had significant


influence on plug production of strawberry. Runner plants of strawberry
cvs. Brio, Selva, Pocahontas, Redchief and Tufts, were layered in
conical yellow pots. The pots contained three different rooting media
(1:1:1 soil:straight cow manure:sand as a control; 1:1 peat: perlite +
nutrients as first rooting medium; and 0.75:1:1:0.5:0.75
soil:peat:perlite:sand: straight cow manure + nutrients as second rooting
medium), without excising from the mother plants. The result of this
study concluded that, in general first and second rooting media
performed better as compared to control.

Plug produced from runner tips rooted in trays with cell sizes of
26.5, 50, 100 and 150 cm3 filled with Plantmax HA organic substrate.
Bare root transplants (control) produced in a closed soilless system using
sand as substrate. Bare root transplants and plug from 100 cm3 cells
had larger crown and higher leaf and root dry mass (Gimenez et al.,
2009). According to Hochmuth et al. (2006), increase in volume of the
substrate increased vegetative growth of strawberry plug.
Effect of media properties and volume of containers on strawberry
plug growth were investigated. Plugs grown in peat mix produced larger
crowns as compared to coarse perlite and pine bark. The larger crown
size and higher leaf number of plugs grown in peat-mix may be related to
its higher water holding capacity (42.9%) and total porosity (71.6%) as
compared to pine bark (16.9 % and 63.3 %, respectively) or perlite
(17.2% and 57.8 %, respectively). Plugs grown in larger containers
produced higher number of leaves and larger crowns as compared to
plants grown in smaller containers (Cantliffe, 2007).

The effect of runner size, date of runner harvest and two types of
substrates on subsequent growth of strawberry plant was investigated.
The final strawberry crown diameter ranged from 14.3 to 15.69 mm at
harvest. The root score ranged from 3.55 to 4.36 out of a total score of
five. Higher vegetative growth was recorded in plants propagated from
large runners and when grown in the finer peat substrate as compared to
smaller runners grown in peat+perlite mixtures. It was attributed to
higher WHC (Water Holding Capacity) of finer peat than peat+perlite
mixtures (Kehoe et al., 2009).

Effect of substrate on the quality of strawberry plug was


determined in a vegetation chamber. Elsanta and Honeoye cultivars
were rooted in a substrate mixture of peat with pine bark (1:1, v/v),
coconut fibre, brown coal with disintegrated rockwool (2:1, v/v) and
rockwool blocks. As results revealed, rockwool was found to be the most
useful substrate for the production of strawberry plugs. Plugs obtained
in this substrate had the largest crown diameters (14.7 mm) and the
highest number of leaves (11.8). The least number of leaves recorded per
plug grown in coconut fibre (10.4) and in the mixture of brown coal with
disintegrated rockwool (10.4). Plugs fresh weight (29.2 g) and dry matter
content of root (18.1 g) were the highest when produced in rockwool
medium (Bartczak et al., 2007).

2.5 SOILLESS CULTURE STUDIES

The greenhouse industry, as a whole, still represents a minuscule


part of total worldwide agricultural production, but the gross return to
the local economy can be significant (Takeda, 2000). The strawberry
industry has depended heavily on methyl bromide soil fumigation to
control soil borne pathogens, insects, nematodes, and weeds (Shaw and
Larson, 1999). Many alternatives to methyl bromide including other
fumigants, heat sterilization, and solar sterilizations have been proposed
(Himerlrich and Dozier, 1991). Another alternative is growing plants in
soilless culture that precludes the use of methyl bromide for per plant
soil fumigation. Soilless culture under greenhouse condition extends the
harvest season and produces fruit during off season when the value is
highest. Future growth of hydroponic culture will depend on the
development of production systems and media that are competitive in
costs and returns with conventional agriculture (Takeda, 2000). While
hydroponically produced strawberries are still only a minor commercial
crop compared to tomatoes and cucumbers, the number of growers
worldwide are increasing. Strawberries can be grown in polyethylene
bags, plastic pots, PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) troughs, or styrofoam
containers of various shapes and sizes (Cantliffe et al., 2007).

2.5.1 Effect of soilless culture systems on growth, yield and fruit


quality

The decision to choose a growing system depends on its cost, ease


of use, and ability to enhance fruit quality and yields. Growing
containers should be arranged in such a way that sunlight is distributed
evenly throughout the plant canopy and plant population density and
yield are maximized. Light intensity markedly affected strawberry plants
growth and development. Verti-Gro system causes environmental
conditions in the lower section of the column to be sub-optimal. The
irradiance reached the plants at the bottom of the columns was only 10
per cent (<100 mol/ m2/s) of levels measured at the top. As a result,
delayed growth occurred among the plants in the middle and bottom
sections of the column. Many plants did not develop an optimal number
of branch crowns and subsequently produce less fruit as compared with
plants in the top section (Takeda, 2000). Similarly, Durner (1999)
reported that because of increasing irradiance, fruit yield of strawberry
cv. Sweet Charlie increased with height in column.

The aim of a Verti-Gro system is to utilize greenhouse space more


efficiently by increasing the planting capacity (Linsley-Noakes et al.,
2006). The Verti-Gro system of hydroponic culture for growing high value
crops has been in commercial practice in countries like United States of
America, Japan, Australia and many European countries like Italy as it
makes for better energy utilization and more efficient use of the
greenhouse volume resulting in higher yields per unit area (Al-Raisy et
al., 2010).

Studies have shown that Verti-Gro systems are more productive


(yield/m2) than the conventional soil based system due to much higher
plant densities (El-Behairy et al., 2001). It is important that not only the
plant density is increased, but also the yield per square meter. Yield per
square meter generally increased with an increase in planting density up
to an optimum beyond which an increase in planting density leads to a
decrease in fruit quality (Dijkstra et al., 1993).

Villiers (2008) compared the A-shape and Verti-Gro systems on


growth and yield of strawberry reported that, the light incidence on leaf
surface of plants in the A-shape system was higher compared to vertical
system. Higher photosynthetic active rate (PAR) was measured inside the
A-shape system as compared to the Verti-Gro system. Average light
intensity inside both production systems was low with a maximum of
between 200 mol/m2/s (Verti-Gro) and 300 mol m2/s (A-shape system).
Therefore, Plants in the A-shape production system produced
significantly higher yields per plant (268.16 g) as compared to the
240.41g per plant produced in the Verti-Gro system (Villiers, 2008). On
the other hand, trials in Egypt have shown that an A-shape nutrient film
technique (NFT) system can produce yields of 14 kg per square meter at
planting densities of 28.6 plants per square meter (El-Behairy et al., 2001),
but it is not clear whether it was the effect of A-shape production system
that had significant affect on yield per square meter. According to Durner
(1999), a 40g decrease in yield per plant was observed with every 30 cm
decrease in planting height. This was attributed to a bigger shading effect
on lower levels of the Verti-Gro system.

Fruits produced in the A-shape system took an average of 41.80


days to develop, whereas fruits produced in the Verti-Gro system took
45.46 days to develop from anthesis to harvest and A-shape system
produced slightly more fruits (20.09 fruits/plant) as compared to the
Verti-Gro system (18.88 fruits/plant). Similarly fruits produced in the A-
shape system had an average size of 13.37g as compared to an average of
12.73 g in the Verti-Gro system and with respect to average soluble
solids. Fruits produced in the A-shape system had an average soluble
solids content of 8.7 per cent as compared to an average of 8.28 per cent
in the Verti-Gro system (Villiers, 2008).

Among the column sizes (6, 7 and 8 pots/ column), columns with
6-pots performed significantly better than others in terms of biomass,
yield and fruit quality attributes as well as, column type had a highly
significant effect on N (%), P (%), K (%) and Fe (ppm) content in leaves
that higher nutrient concentration observed in 6potper column size (Al-
Raisy et al., 2010).

Vertically polyethylene bags or PVC pipe columns filled with


strawberry plants set in holes in the side and column of interlocking square
pots. Nutrient solution is applied at the top of the column through a drip
emitters and the solution passed through the substrate and out the bottom.
As observed, the composition of the nutrient solution changed as it passed
through the column and markedly affected the plant growth at the lower
section (Jones, 1997). While in the A-shape growing system with same
height and plant density, same problem did not notice (Durner, 1999).

Three hydroponic techniques, i.e., nutrient film technique (NFT), A-


shape aeroponics and a closed insulated pallet system (CIPS) were
evaluated. Due to etiolation of crown in deep tray (15 cm deep),
maximum plant height observed in NFT was negatively correlated with
the other vegetative attributes. Because of sufficient light reached to the
plants grown in the A-shape Aeroponics system, exhibited superior
performance throughout the experiment for most parameters studied as
compared to other systems. Plants grown in the Aeroponics system
recorded significantly higher leaf area and leaf number. Plants grown in
the NFT system and CIPS ceased to produce at 80 days out of 120 days
of experimental period. But CIPS was the most promising system for
adaptation for protected agriculture because of its simplicity,
recyclability of most of its components, and higher water conservation
efficiency (Albaho et al., 2008).

Bench top production of strawberry in containers has been


evaluated. In such system, the containers are elevated above the ground,
the space can be used more effectively resulting in greater plant densities
and increased harvest efficiency as compare to on ground (Takeda,
2000).
Growing systems arranged in a single horizontal tier (usually in the
north-south direction) accommodated high plant population densities up
to 2.8 plants per ft2 and since all plants are at the same height, light
distribution was uniform (Paranjpe et al., 2003).

Radajewska and Aumiller (1997) evaluated strawberry cv. Elsanta


in a glasshouse by planting in peat filled bags placed on hanging gutters
suspended 1.5 m aboveground and peat-filled bags placed on 30-cm-high
cement platforms. Although total yield obtained from plants grown in
both growing systems was similar, but higher economic yields were
obtained from plants grown at 1.5m elevation. Reported by Cantliffe et al.
(2007) that, higher early fruit number and fruit weight were obtained
from plants grown in hanged Polygal troughs than plants grown in bag
on gutter or bag on ground and a higher percentage of marketable fruit
number and fruit weight was obtained from plants grown in bag on
gutter and Polygal troughs than plants grown in bag on ground. And
because of larger volume of bags (18 L) as compared to polygal trough (12
L), number of leaves and crown diameter of plants grown in bag on gutter
and bag on ground was significantly higher than that of plants grown in
Polygal troughs. Takeda and colleagues (1993) have experimented with
pot culture. Plug of strawberry cvs. Cmarosa and Chandler were
planted in to round 7.6 L pots (5 plants/ pot) and square, 2.8 L pots (4
plants/ pot) placed on bench under greenhouse condition. The two
cultivars produced 510g fruits per plants of which only 14 per cent were
cull fruit (<10 g or diseased berries), in both pot type. Although, the
containers used in this study were in different volume, but yields were
similar.

Cantliffe et al. (2007) reported that, polyethylene bags can be used


only for one season since they degrade faster from exposure to UV
radiation, whereas Polygal troughs can be used for up to seven seasons
since they do not degrade as fast as the polyethylene bags. The volume in
Polygal troughs (12 L/m) is 33 per cent less than the volume of polyethylene
bags (18 L/m) and therefore, the quantity and cost of the soilless media
required to fill the Polygal troughs is 33 per cent lower than that required
for polyethylene bags. Therefore, from a management standpoint, their
cost effectiveness, ease of handling and ability to accommodate higher
plant populations make Polygal troughs more suited for protected
strawberry culture.

2.5.2 Effect of soilless media on growth, yield and fruit quality

The difficulty and cost of controlling soil born pests and diseases,
soil salinity, lack of fertile soil, water shortage, lack of space etc., have led
to the development of substrates for soilless cultivation (Olympious,
1992). The properties of different materials used as growing media exhibit
direct and indirect effects on plant growth and productivity. Some
technical and economic factors play role when choosing substrates. At the
beginning gravel or sand, later materials such as peat, vermiculite, perlite
have been commonly used (elikel, 1999).

The effects of three different media based on 100 per cent perlite,
80%: 20% and 60%: 40% (v/v) perlite + peat moss were evaluated on
growth, yield and fruit quality of three varieties of strawberry in soilless
culture. 100 per cent perlite produced the most number of leaves, flowers
and the number of fruits and fruit dry weight were the highest in both
substrates of perlite 100 per cent and 60%:40% perlite + peat moss. In
conclusion, the best media in production of both verities were perlite 100
per cent and 60:40 per cent perlite:peat moss (Jafarnia et al., 2010).
Similarly, Perlite 100 per cent per produced the highest number of
runners, crowns number was the highest in 60 per cent perlite+ 40 per
cent peat moss substrate and both substrates of 80 per cent+ 20 per
cent and 60 per cent:40 per cent perlite + peat produced the highest
percentage of total soluble solids (Jafarnia et al., 2010).

Early fruit and higher fruit weight per plant produced in perlite
than peat-mix or pine bark. Percentages of marketable fruit number and
fruit weight obtained from plants grown in peat mix and pine bark were
higher than that from plants grown in perlite. Plants produced higher
yields in peat-mix and pine bark than perlite. Larger crown and higher
number of leaves obtained from plants grown in peat mix than the perlite
medium. However, peat mix is an expensive soilless substrate. Plants
grown in pine bark produced early marketable yields that were similar to
or less than those obtained in peat mix. Using pine bark as a soilless
substrate in protected strawberry culture reduced media costs by 50 per
cent than for peat-mix and 42 per cent than for perlite (Cantiliffe et al.,
2007).

Studies conducted aimed at determining the effect of substrates


(peat, peat mixed with pine bark in the proportion of 1:1, peat with pine
sawdust in the ratio of 1:1), upon yielding of strawberry fruit. No
significant differences were found in total and marketable yield of
strawberry fruit grown in peat, as well as in peat with pine bark.
Significantly lower total (435.8 g/plant) and marketable (286.5 g/plant)
fruit yield was reported when strawberries were grown in peat mixed with
pine sawdust. In plants grown in peat mixed with sawdust significantly
smaller fruit weight (10.7 g) was found, as compared to plants that grew
in the remaining substrates (Konopinska, 2010). Markiewicz et al. (2008)
reported that, the reason for poorer yield of strawberry grown in sawdust
or paddy husk was due to worst supply of plants with nitrogen caused by
the biological sorption of this nutrient. Dorais et al. (2007) also
emphasized on the possible effect of phototoxic effect of certain
components of sawdust during plant growing in these materials.
Allopathic effect of rice husk, which suppress total vigour of plant and
reduced plant growth and yield, was also reported by Asghari et al.
(2006).

Among the growth media, a mixture of perlite and peat moss


irrespective of their ratios showed significant superiority compared to the
mixture of perlite and local plant fibre with respect to strawberry growth,
fruit weight and quality. However, the use of local plant fibre (shredded
date leaf bases) is recommended because of cost and availability (Al-
Raisy et al., 2010). Cited by Al-Raisy et al. (2010) that effects of compost
as media on growth and development of strawberry cv. Elsanta did not
notice (MacNaeid, 1997).

In general peat, finepeat or finepeat+perlite gave the best results in


terms of above and underground parts of plants in tow cultivars under
study i.e. Fern and Camarosa. The best media in terms of higher
moisture retained capacity at lower tensions (9<0.33 %) was finepeat (57.1
%), which was followed by peat +perlite (57.0 %) and perlite (53.7 %).
Amount of larger pore size distribution (>100 em) providing aeration and
drainage was the higher in fine peat (50.9 %) followed by peat (44.6. %)
(Ercisli et al., 2005). As reported by Vasilakakis et al. (1996) that,
productivity of plants grown in new perlite was significantly higher by 15 per
cent due mainly to its higher WHC than that of reused perlite. In general
vegetative growth including runner, leaf and crown production in plant
was higher in media with peat and coco peat compared with sand and
perlite (100%). Cv. Camarosa in coco peat 40 per cent + perlite 60 per
cent produced the highest number of fruits and yield per plant. The yield
in substrates with peat or coco peat was higher than in substrates
without peat or coco peat. The highest number of malformed fruits was
observed in sand 100 per cent. The soluble solids of fruits were different
with different cultivars and different substrates. In conclusion,
cocopeat40 per cent+ perlite 60 per cent is proper media for soilless
strawberry production (Tehranifar et al., 2007).

The effects of five different media based on 1:0, 3:1, 1:1, 1:3, 0:1
(v/v) of perlite (P) and zeolite (Z) on quantity and quality of strawberry cv.
Camarosa fruits in soilless culture were studied. Perlite/zeolite (P/Z)
substrates 3:1 and 1:1 ratio (v/v) produced the highest number of fruit
per plant with 22.23 and 23.05 fruits, respectively, while zeolite alone
showed the lowest number of fruit. In addition, the largest crown and
fruits yields were recorded on media P/Z 3:1 and 1:1 ratio, while number
of flowers, fruits, fruit weight and yield per plant decreased on P/Z 1:3
ratio. The highest dry weight (10.23 per cent), total soluble solids,
titratable acids and their highest ratio (10.57) were measured on P
medium, whereas the highest TA was noted on Z and P/Z 1:3 ratio
(Ghazvini et al., 2007).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
III. MATERIALS AND METHODS

The present investigation on plug production and evaluation of


different soilless systems and substrates for cultivation of strawberry
(Fragaria ananassa Duch.), cv. Strawberry Festival was carried out in a
passively ventilated greenhouse at the Division of Fruit Crops, Indian
Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore, India during 2010-11.

The IIHR, Bangalore is situated at latitude of 1258 North and


longitude of 77 37 East at an altitude of 830 m above mean sea level.
The average annual rain fall of the area is 953 mm. The minimum and
maximum day/night temperature inside of the greenhouse ranged from
31.75/11.06 C to 40.33/20.28 C respectiv ely and relative humidity
between 40 to 90 per cent.

3.1 Description of the crop used for studies

The cultivar under study named Strawberry Festival is a short day


cultivar developed in Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc.,
Greenwood, Florida USA which originated from seed produced by a hand
pollinated cross between Rosa Linda and Oso Grande. Average height
and width for mature plants is 23 and 30 cm respectively. Average petiole
length and diameter is 120 and 3.5 mm respectively, and petioles have a
medium pubescence. Average length and breadth of terminal leaflets is
78 and 73 mm respectively. Average length and breadth of secondary
leaflets is 69 and 72 mm respectively. It has a vigorous plant
distinguished by the numerous runners it produces in the fruiting field.
Flowers open at or below canopy height and have an average of 5.3 petals
and 24 stamens. The long pedicels attached to its fruit, and the
production of fruit that are flavourful, firm flashed, deep red on the
outside, bright red on the inside, conically shaped, and have large, showy
calyces when grown in subtropical climate. Fruits are very firm with
moderate juiciness and excellent flavour. The TSS of fruits is a mean of
7.4 (%) and the titratable acidity of 0.79 (%). The average weight per fruit
is 15.9 g and total marketable fruits per plant can be 446 g. Strawberry
festival is susceptible to anthracnose, fruit rot (caused by Colletotichum
acutatum Simmonds), colletotrichum crown rot (caused by Colletotrichum
gloeosporodies Penz.), and angular leaf spot (caused by Xanthomonas
fragariae kennedy and King). It is less susceptible than Sweet Charlie to
Botrytis fruit rot (caused by Botrytis cinerea Pers.ex Fr.) and less
susceptible than Camarosa to powdery mildew (caused by Sphaerotheca
macularis [Wallr. Ex Fr.] Jacz. f.sp. fragariae). Strawberry Festivals
relative susceptibility to the two spotted spider mite (Teranychus utricae
Koch) is unknown, but a serious infestation has not yet been observed
(Chandler, 2000).

3.2 Experimental details

The details of four experiments which were carried out under this
investigation are presented hereunder.

3.2.1 PLUG PRODUCTION STUDIES

3.2.1.1 EXPERIMENT I: To investigate the effect of runner node


order explant and different rooting media
on plug production of strawberry cv.
Strawberry Festival.

The aim of this experiment was to find out the possible influence of
runner node order as explant types and different rooting media on plug
production of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival. The factorial CRD
experimental layout was applied with 6 treatments (2 types of media and
3 explant types) each replicated 3 times (Fig. 2).
3.2.1.1.1 Treatment details

T1- Runner tip rooted in coir peat + perlite (1:1, v/v).


T2- First order node rooted in coir peat + perlite (1:1, v/v).
T3- Second order node rooted in coir peat + perlite (1:1, v/v).
T4- Runner tip rooted in sand+ red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v).
T5- First order node rooted in sand+ red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v).
T6- Second order node rooted in sand+ red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v).

3.2.1.1.2 Plug production

Plug production is divided into several stages beginning with the


production of unrooted daughter plants and ending with fully rooted
transplant that is ready for shipping, transplanting, special conditioning
or holding in cold storage.

The healthy stolons of strawberry while consisting of well


developed tips and at least two order nodes were detached from field
grown two years old mother plants cv. Strawberry Festival. The
daughter plants (first and second order node and runner tip) while root
initials are present and consisting at least two healthy leaves, were
determined. The stolons washed twice with tap water and then treated
with 1per cent Bavistin and 2 per cent Kavach (fungicides) for 30
seconds. Daughter plants (explant) were then detached from stolons and
grouped by their size and position on the runner. Daughter plants were
sorted into the following categories: Small (less than 1.5 g), medium
(between 1.5 g and 6.5 g) and large (more than 6.5 g). The medium sized
daughter plants were then plugged at the same day into 32-celled
portrays filled with two types of media and placed under intermittent
mist chamber with on/off cycle of 10 second/15 minutes from 07:00 am
to 07:00 pm under natural light condition for a period of 15 days until
root formation. Plugs were then shifted to a greenhouse bench receiving
manual overhead watering twice daily, fertilization weekly and fungicidal
sprays twice weekly for approximately four weeks.
N

T4 T3 T6

T2 T5 T3

T1 T4 T2

T6 T6 T1

T5 T2 T5
56.7 cm

T4
T3 T1

15 cm 29.7 cm

T1- Runner tip rooted in coir peat + perlite (1:1, v/v)


T2- First order node rooted in coir peat + perlite (1:1, v/v)
T3- Second order node rooted in coir peat + perlite (1:1, v/v)
T4- Runner tip rooted in sand+ red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v)
T5- First order node rooted in sand+ red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v)
T6- Second order node rooted in sand+ red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v)

Fig. 2. Layout plan of studies on effect of media and explant types


on plug production of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival
Plate 2. Field grown mother plants of strawberry cv. Strawberry
Festival used for plug production studies

A B C

Plate 3. Explant types used for plug production of strawberry cv.


Strawberry Festival; A) runner tip, B) second order node
and C) first order node
Plate 4. Substrates used for plug production of strawberry cv.
Strawberry Festival; A) red earth, B) coco peat, C) sand, D)
perlite and E) coco peat

6.5 cm

Cell size
6 cm

Plate 5. Tray used for plug production studies


3.2.1.1.3 Data collection

At the end of plug production cycle, biometric parameters were


recorded from 10 randomly sampled plugs per each replication.

3.2.1.1.3.1 Length of the most developed root

The length (in centimetre) of the most developed root measured


and the means were taken for data analysis.

3.2.1.1.3.2 Total number of roots per plug

The number of roots, including primary and secondary roots, of


plants counted and the mean was taken for analysis.

3.2.1.1.3.3 Crown diameter

Crown diameter or girth was measured in millimetres using vernier


callipers and the mean was taken for analysis.

3.2.1.1.3.4 Number of leaves per plug

The total number of leaves were counted and the mean of recorded
data taken for analysis.

3.2.1.1.3.5 Per cent establishment

The percentage of plug survival was calculated by counting the


number of plug plants that were survived at the end of the plug
production cycle and the mean was taken for analysis.

3.2.1.1.3.6 Shoot and root fresh weight

The uprooted sampled plugs washed with tap water. The separated
shoot and root immediately weighted in gram using weighing balance
(NAGEMA Ltd. India) and the mean was taken for analysis.
3.2.1.1.3.7 Shoot and root dray weight

Root and shoot of each plug were separated and placed in butter
paper bags and oven dried for 3 days at 70 C. The dry weights were
determined for each individual parts of the plug used.

3.2.2 SOILLESS CULTURE STUDIES

3.2.2.1 EXPERIMENT II: To study the effect of different soilless


culture systems on growth, yield and
quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry
Festival

The aim of this experiment was to determine the effects of several


soilless culture systems on growth, yield and fruit quality of strawberry
cv. Strawberry Festival. grown in a passively ventilated greenhouse. The
CRD experimental layout was applied with three treatments each
replicated 4 times (Fig. 3).

3.2.2.1.1 Treatments

T1- Lay-Flat-Bag placed on bench,

T2- Vertically Growing system (Verti-Gro) and

T3- Open-trough placed on bench

3.2.2.1.2 Soilless strawberry production

Open Trough system: The trench shaped troughs were made (30 cm
bottom wide, 40 cm top wide, 30 cm depth and 300 cm length) and
covered with black polyethylene sheet which accommodated 165 Kg
substrate and placed 60 cm apart of each other on metal made benches.
The benches elevated from ground level at 90 cm. The length and breadth
of benches were 3 1.2m that the angle from the center of the bench
down at a 2 per cent slope towards both the sides. The troughs filled with
soilless media to a depth of 20 cm and the drip system for supplying
nutrients solution, through emitters with 8 liter/hour discharging rate,
was placed (Fig. 4).

Lay Flat Bag system: 115 Kg capacity black polyethylene bags were
placed on metal made benches, elevated from ground level at 90 cm. The
length and breadth of benches were 3 1.2m that the angle from the
center of the bench down at a 2 per cent slope on both sides. Two bags
placed on each bench at 60 cm apart from each other and two rows of
holes were made on top of the each bag at 30 cm apart from each other in
alternate manner which accommodated 20 plants per bag. Ten micro
tubes per bag inserted between two plants in equal distance with 8 liters
per hour discharging capacity (Fig. 4).

Verti-Gro system: The Verti-Gro system employed consisting of vanilla


round shaped pots each having 2.8 litter capacity placed on above of each
other with help of a metal pole to form a cylinder shaped column. The 20
cm PVC cut-pipe sleeves placed between every tow pots to keep pots
vertically apart of each other and the first pot from the bottom placed at
45 cm elevation from surface of the ground which gave a column with
height of 172 cm. The distance between row and columns was 100 cm and
70 cm respectively. Each column consist four pots and each pot
accommodated four plants with sixteen plants per column. Each pot
supplied with nutrient solution through micro tubes with 8 liters per hour
discharging capacity from above lateral lines (Fig. 4).

One day prior to transplanting, all systems filled with media (coir
peat 60%+40% perlite, v/v) and irrigated for one hour to thoroughly
moisten the media. Healthy plug of the cultivar Strawberry Festival,
procured from ZOPAR Exports nursery Bangalore, were planted in
growing systems. The nutrient solution supplied through an automated
drip irrigation system. The timer adjusted during day time for 15
minutes each at three hours to supply nutrient solution, from a 400
N

R-1 R-2 R-3 R-4

T3 T2 T1 T2

T1 T3 T2 T3

T2 T1 T3 T1

T1- Lay-Flat-Bags placed on bench,


T2- Vertically Growing system (Verti-Gro), and
T3- Open-troughs placed on bench

Fig. 3. Layout plan of studies on effect of soilless culture systems on


growth, yield and fruit quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry
Festival
40 cm

30 cm

20 cm

17 cm
30 cm

162 cm
15 cm

30 cm

B
45 cm

C
(C)

Fig. 4. Cross-section diagram of soilless culture systems; A) Open-


trough system, B) Lay-Flat-Bag system and C) Verti-Gro
system
litres capacity plastic tank placed under shade house outside the
greenhouse and the systems ensured 10 per cent drainage.

3.2.2.2 EXPERIMENT III: To find out the effect of different types of


soilless media on growth, yield and fruit
quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry
Festival

The aim of this experiment was to determine the effects of two


types of substrates mixture on growth, yield and fruit quality of
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival. grown in a passively ventilated
greenhouse. The CRD experimental layout was applied with two
treatments each replicated 4 times (Fig. 5).

3.2.2.2.1 Treatments

T1- 60%:40% (v/v) mixture of coir peat and perlite and

T2-50%:30%:20% (v/v) mixture of paddy husk, coir peat and perlite


respectively.

3.2.2.2.2 Soilless strawberry production

115 Kg capacity black polyethylene bags placed on metal made


benches, elevated from ground level at 90 cm. The length and breadth of
benches were 3 1.2m that the angle from the center of the bench down
at a 2% slope towards either sides. Tow bags placed on each bench at 60
cm apart from each other and one day prior to transplanting filled with
soilless media (60% cocopeat+40% perlite, v/v) and (50% paddy husk
+30% coco peat +20% perlite, v/v). Two rows of holes were made on top of
the each bag at 30 cm apart from each other in alternate manner which
accommodated 20 plants per bag. Ten micro tubes/bag inserted between
two plants in equal distance with 8 litres per hour discharging capacity.
One day prior to transplanting, irrigated for one hour to thoroughly
N

R-1 R-2 R-3 R-4

T2 T1 T2 T2

T1 T2 T1 T1

T1- 60%:40% (v/v) mixture of coir peat and perlite, and


T2-50%:30%:20% (v/ v) mixture of paddy husk, coir peat and perlite
respectively.

Fig. 5. Layout plan of studies on effect of soilless media on growth,


yield and fruit quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival
A

Plate 6. General view of soilless culture systems used for soilless


culture studies; A) Verti-Gro system, B) Open-trough system
and C) Lay-Flat-Bag system

A B

Plate 7. Substrates mixtures used for soilless culture studies; A)


mixture of coco peat 60% + perlite 40 % and B) mixture of
paddy husk 50% +coco peat 30% and perlite 20%
moisten the media. Same transplants, nutrient solution and system of
drip irrigation used as it was in experiment 2.

3.2.2.3 EXPERIMENT IV: To study the effect of tier position in the


vertically growing system (Verti-Gro) of
soilless culture on growth, yield and fruit
quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry
Festival

The aim of this experiment was to determine the possible effects of


four tier in the Verti-Gro system on growth, yield and fruit quality of
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in a passively ventilated
greenhouse. The CRD experimental layout was applied with four
treatments each replicated 4 times (Fig. 6).

3.2.2.3.1 Treatments

T1- Tier positioned on top of the column

T2- Tier positioned second from the top

T3- Tier positioned third from the top

T4- Tier positioned fourth from the top

3.2.2.3.2 Soilless strawberry production

The Verti-Gro system that employed was consisting of vanilla round


shaped pots, each having 2.8 litter capacity, placed on above of each other
with help of a metal pole which gave a cylinder shaped column. The 20 cm
PVC cut-pipe sleeves placed between every tow pots to keep pots vertically
apart of each other and the first pot from the bottom placed at 45 cm
elevation from surface of the ground which gave a column with height of
172 cm. The distance between row and columns was 100 cm and 70 cm
respectively. Each column consists four pots and each pot accommodated
four plants with sixteen plants per column. One day prior to transplanting,
N

R-1 R-2 R-3 R-4

T3 T2 T4 T1

T1 T3 T2 T4

T2 T4 T1 T3

T4 T1 T3 T2

T1- Tier positioned on top of the column


T2- Tier positioned second from the top
T3- Tier positioned third from the top
T4- Tier positioned fourth from the top

Fig. 6. Layout plan of studies on effect of tier position in Verti-Gro


soilless culture system on growth, yield and fruit quality of
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival
the pots filled with soilless media (coir peat 60 % + 40 % perlite, v/v) and
irrigated for one hour to thoroughly moisten the media. Each pot
supplied with nutrient solution through micro tubes with 8litres per hour
discharging capacity from above lateral lines. Same transplants, nutrient
solution and system of drip irrigation used as it was in experiment 2.

3.2.2.4 Data collection

The measurements were taken from 3 randomly sampled plants in


each system of soilless culture and media types.

3.2.2.4.1 Growth parameters

3.2.2.4.1.1 Total number of leaves

The total number of fully opened healthy leaves per plant was
counted in two stages of crop growth (20 days after transplanting and at
the end of experiment) and means were taken for statistical analysis.

3.2.2.4.1.2 Length of petiole

The most developed petiole length was measured (in cm) at two
growth stages of crop i.e., 20 days after transplanting and at the end of
experiment and the means were taken for statistical analysis.

3.2.2.4.1.3 Leaf area

At the end of experiment, three plants per replication in each


treatment were randomly selected and the leaf area (expressed in cm2)
was measured using the Area Meter (L.I.COR. Model LI 3100. USA)

3.2.2.4.1.4 Crown diameter

Crown diameter (in mm) was measured at the end of experiment


using vernier callipers and the means were used for statistical analysis.
3.2.2.4.1.5 Shoot and root fresh weight

The uprooted sampled plants at the end of experiment thoroughly


washed with tap water. The separated shoot (including crown, leaf and
leaf petiole) and root were immediately weighed using weighing balance
(NAGEMA Ltd. India) and the data was recorded (in gram) for analysis.

3.2.2.4.1.6 Shoot and root dry weight

Root and shoot of each plant were separated and placed in butter
paper bags and oven dried for 3 days at 70 C. The dry weights were
determined for each individual parts of the plant using weighing balance.

3.2.2.4.2 Yield and quality parameters

3.2.2.4.2.1 Days taken for flowering

The flower initiation was recorded by counting the days from the
date of transplanting to the stage at which 50 per cent of the labeled
plants, in each system and media, attained flowering.

3.2.2.4.2.2 Total number of flowers per plant

The randomly labeled plants in each system and media taken in


account and the number of flowers on each plant were counted at full
bloom stage during experimental period. The grand mean of all data were
calculated and taken for statistical analysis.

3.2.2.4.2.3 Total number of fruits per plant

The number of fruits, including primary, secondary and tertiary,


counted at each harvest. Plucking of fruits was done at two days interval.
The grand mean of all harvests till final harvest were counted and
recorded for statistical analysis.
3.2.2.4.2.4 Total fruit weight per plant

The total weight of fruit per plant measured at each harvest and
recorded using weighing balance and the grand mean taken for statistical
analysis.

3.2.2.4.2.5 Percentage of marketable fruits per plant

The healthy and not misshapen fruits were sorted and fruits
weighed more than 10 gram per fruit considered as marketable.

3.2.2.4.2.6 Fruit length and diameter

The length and diameter (in mm) of fruits in 12 randomly selected


fruits per harvest measured using vernier caliper and the grand mean of
all harvests was taken for statistical analysis.

3.2.2.4.2.7 Fruit weight

Twelve randomly selected fruits in each harvest were weighed and


divided by number of fruits. The mean expressed as g weight/fruit and
grand mean of all harvests used for statistical analysis.

3.2.2.4.2.8 Total soluble solids of fruits

The fruit juice was used for determining total soluble solids (TSS;
B) by using hand refractometer (Erma Ltd. Japan) of 0-32 range. The
values were corrected at 25 C and expressed as per cent total soluble
solids of the fruits.

3.2.2.4.2.9 Titratable acidity

Acidity was determined by titration method. 10 gram of fruit


samples was macerated with distilled water, filtered through muslin cloth
and made up to 10 ml with distilled water. 5 ml of this was titrated
against standard NaOH using phenolphthalein as an indicator. The
appearance of light pink colour was marked as the end point. The value
was expressed in terms of malic acid as per cent titratable acidity (Anon,
1884).

Apart from growth, yield and fruit quality parameters as described,


daily minimum and maximum temperature, leaf and petiole nutrients
analysis and photosynthesis and its related parameters were also
measured.

3.2.2.4.3 Temperature recording

Thermometer was set to record minimum and maximum


temperatures during a 24 hour period and was reset on a daily basis.
Mean temperatures calculated and determined on weekly basis.

3.2.2.4.4 Analysis of nutrients in leaf and petiole

Nutrient content analysis was done in randomly sampled plants at


the end of plant growth period. Plants were thoroughly washed with tap
water and leaves and petioles were separated. Petioles and leaves were
washed with distilled water, than with TEEPOL (0.2%) and HCl (N/10)
and rinsed with double distilled water. The cleaned samples were placed
in butter paper bugs and oven dried at 70 C for a period of 72 hours till
constant weight obtained and then powdered using mixer (Sumeet Ltd.
India). Five gram from each powdered samples were separated using
weighing balance (NAGEMA Ltd. India) and used for the estimation of
nutrients. The 0.3 gram samples were wet digested with concentrated
H2SO4 and H2O2 and total nitrogen (%) was estimated by Kjeldahl method
(Kjeldahl apparatus, 1983). The 1.0 gram samples were digested in diacid
mixture i.e. HNO3 and HClO4 (9:4, v/v). These digested samples were
used for the estimation of all other concerned nutrients following the
standardized method in horticulture crops (Bhargava and Raghupathi,
2005). Phosphorus (%) was estimated by vanado-molybdate method and
estimation of sulfur (%) was done by turbidometric method using
Spectrophotometer (Thermo Spectronic Ltd. India). Potassium
determined in the emission mode using Flame photometer (ELICO Ltd.
India). Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (Perkin Elmer Ltd. USA)
was used for determining Ca (%), Mg (%), Fe (ppm), Mn (ppm), Zn (ppm)
and Cu (ppm) (Bhargava and Raghupathi, 2005).

3.2.2.4.5 Gas exchange parameters and photosynthaticaly active


radiation

Photosynthetic rate (A; mol/m2/s), light incident on leaf surface


(Qleaf; mol/m2/s), transpiration rate (E; mmol/m 2/s) and stomatal
conductance of H2O (gs; mol/m2/s), were measured using LC. pro
Photosynthesis System (ADC Bioscientific Ltd. UK.) during peak fruiting
stage of crop, i.e. 110 and 120 days after transplanting on selected
cloudless days at 09:30 to 10:30 am.

3.3 Experimental design

For the plug production studies, factorial CRD was applied with six
treatments (two media, i.e factor A, and three explant types i.e. factor B)
and 32 plugs per treatment each replicated three times. At the end of
plug production cycle 10 plugs per replication were randomly selected for
taking the measurements. The data were statistically analysed by
analysis of variance (ANOVA). The treatment means were then separated
with the Duncans multiple range test (P=0.05).

For soilless culture studies, CRD design was applied with three
treatments for soilless culture systems, two treatments for media types
and four treatments for effect of tier position in the Verti-Gro system.
Each replicated four times. Three plants per replication randomly
selected for taking the measurements. The data were statistically
analysed by analysis of variance (ANOVA). The treatment means were
then separated with the Duncans multiple range test (P=0.05).
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
IV. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

The present investigation, entitled Plug production and evaluation


of different soilless systems and substrates for cultivation of strawberry
(Fragaria ananassa Duch.), cv. Strawberry Festival encompasses four
different experiments, and results are presented in detail.

4.1 PLUG PRODUCTION STUDIES

4.1.1 To investigate the effect of runner node order explant and


different rooting media on plug growth of strawberry cv.
Strawberry Festival.

Two sources of media i.e. coir peat + Perlite (1:1, v/v; media-1) and
sand+ red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v; media-2) and three different explant
types (first and second order nodes and runner tip) were employed in the
experiment. The results are presented in tables 1 and 1a and graphically
shown in Fig. 7.

4.1.1.1 Root length of plug

4.1.1.1.1 Effect of media types on root length

Root length of plugs was significantly affected by media types.


Longer root (15.40 mm) was observed in plugs produced on media-1 as
compared to plugs produced on media-2 (13.80 mm).

4.1.1.1.2 Effect of explant types on root length

The highest root length (14.55 mm) was produced in plugs raised
from second order node followed by runner tip (14.35 mm) and first order
node (13.90 mm), but these differences were statistically non-significant.
The significant interaction affect between media and explant types, with
respect to root length, was not noticed.
4.1.1.2 Total number of roots per plug

4.1.1.2.1 Effect of media on total number of roots

Significantly higher number of roots (12.33) was observed in plugs


produced on media-1 as compared to media-2 (10.10).

4.1.1.2.2 Effect of explant types on total number of roots

Significantly higher total number of roots (12.20) was recorded


from first order node which was on par with second order node (11.60)
and the lowest (9.85) was observed from runner tip as compared to first
and second order nodes. There was no significant interaction effect
observed between media-2 and explant types with respect to total
number of roots. Whereas in media-1, the highest number of roots
(14.00) obtained from runner tip which was on par with second order
node (13.00), and lowest (10.00) was obtained from first order node as
compared to runner tip and second order node.

4.1.1.3 Total number of leaves per plug

4.1.1.3.1 Effect of media types on total number of leaves

Significantly higher number of leaves (5.48) was produced in plugs


raised on meida-1 as compared to media-2 (4.83).

4.1.1.3.2 Effect of explant types on total number of leaves

No significant affect of explant types on total number of leaves was


noticed. While, highest total number of leaves (5.43) was recorded from
runner tip followed by second order node (5.33) and lowest from first
order node (4.83), but this variation was statistically on par with each
other. As analysed data revealed, there was no significant interaction
affect observed between media and explant types.
4.1.1.4 Plug crown diameter

4.1.1.4.1 Effect of media types on plug crown diameter

As observed, plug crown diameter significantly influenced by media


types. Larger plug crown (7.32 mm) was observed in plugs produced on
media-1 as compared to media-2 (6.11 mm).

4.1.1.4.2 Effect of explant types on plug crown diameter

The highest crown diameter (7.10 mm) was recorded in plugs


produced from first order node followed by runner tip (6.60 mm), and
lowest from second order node (6.45 mm), but the results were on par
with each other. Interaction affect noticed, with respect to plug crown
diameter, between media-1 and explant types but not between media-2
and explant types. The significantly larger crown diameter (8.20 mm) was
recorded in plugs raised on media-1 from second order node. However
results from runner tip (7.36 mm) and first nodes (6.40 mm) were on par
with each other.

4.1.1.5 Per cent establishment of plugs

4.1.1.5.1 Effect of media types on per cent establishment

Data pertaining to per cent establishment of plug at the end of


plug production cycle, revealed a marked influence of media types on
this parameter. Plug establishment was higher (87 %) in media-1 as
compared to media-2 (80 %).

4.1.1.5.2 Effect of explant types on per cent establishment

Significantly higher per cent establishment (89) was recorded in


plugs produced from first order node followed by runner tip (81 %) and
lowest (71 %) was recorded from second order node. On media-1
maximum establishment (92 %) was recorded in plugs produced from
first order node followed by runner tip (83 %) and lowest (74 %) was
recorded in plugs raised from second order node. On media-2,
significantly higher plug establishment (83 %) was observed using first
order node followed by second order node (74 %) and lowest (71 %) in
plugs produced from runner tip.

4.1.1.6 Shoot fresh weight per plug

4.1.1.6.1 Effect of media types on shoot fresh weight

Fresh weight of shoot was significantly influenced by media types.


Higher shoot fresh weight (13.26 g) was observed in plugs raised on
media-1 as compared to media-2 (10.86 g).

4.1.1.6.2 Effect of explant types on shoot fresh weight

Highest shoot fresh weight (11.65 g) was obtained from first order
node followed by second order node (11.95 g) and runner tip (11.65 g),
but differences were statistically on par with each other. No interaction
effect was observed between media-1 and explant types with regard to
shoot fresh weight. Whereas, significantly lower shoot fresh weight (9.80
g) was produced from second order node as compared to first order node
(12.00 g) and runner tip (10.80 g) respectively on media-2, but the
difference between runner tip and first order node was statistically on
par with each other.

4.1.1.7 Root fresh weight per plug

4.1.1.7.1 Effect of media types on root fresh weight

Significantly higher root fresh weight (7.30 g) was recorded from


plugs raised on media-1 as compared to media-2 (5.13 g).

4.1.1.7.2 Effect of explant types on root fresh weight

Higher root fresh weight (6.35 g) was recorded in plugs produced


from runner tip followed by first order node (6.20 g) and second order
node (6.10 g), but differences were on par with each other. Further, no
interaction affect between media and explant types was noticed.

4.1.1.8 Shoot dry weight per plug

4.1.1.8.1 Effect of media types on shoot dry weight

Dry weight of roots (4.20 g) was found to be significantly higher in


plugs produced on meida-1 as compared to media-2 (3.96 g).

4.1.1.8.2 Effect of explant types on shoot dry weight

Higher shoot dry weight (4.20 g) was recorded in runner tip which
was on par with first order node (4.04 g) and second order node (3.01 g).
Interaction affect between media and explant types, with regard to shoot
dry weight, were on par with each other.

4.1.1.9 Root dry weight per plug

4.1.1.9.1 Effect of media types on root dry weight

Root dry weight of plugs produced on media-1 was significantly


higher (2.93 g) as compared to media-2 (1.80 g).

4.1.1.9.2 Effect of explant types on root dry weight

Maximum root dry weight (2.89 g) was recorded in plugs raised


from second order node followed by runner tip (2.86 g) and first order
node (2.85 g), but the differences were statistically on par with each
other. There was no interaction affect observed between media-2 and
explant types. Whereas, plugs rose from runner tip on media-1 produced
significantly higher root dry weight (3.01 g) which was on par with
second order node (2.94 g) and lowest (2.86 g) was recorded from first
order node as compared to runner tip and second order node.
Table 1. Growth and per cent establishment of strawberry plugs cv. Strawberry Festival as influenced
by media and explant types
Shoot Root Shoot Root
Root Crown
fresh fresh dry dry No. of No. of %
Treatments length diameter
weight weight weight weight roots leaves establishment
(cm) (mm)
(g) (g) (g) (g)
Media -1 13.26a 7.30a 4.20a 2.93a 15.40a 12.33a 5.43a 7.32a 87a
Media -2 10.86b 5.13b 3.96b 2.80b 13.80b 10.10b 4.93a 6.11b 80b
F Test * * * * * * * * *
S. Em. 0.33 0.17 0.05 0.03 0.29 0.34 0.16 0.19 0.60
CD. @ 5% 0.99 0.51 0.16 0.08 0.87 1.01 0.50 0.56 1.8
CV % 15.85 15.92 10.08 9.21 13.37 17.46 21.06 16.14 40.94

First node 12.60a 6.20a 4.04a 2.85a 13.90a 12.20a 4.83a 6.45a 89a
Second node 11.95a 6.10a 4.01a 2.89a 14.55a 11.60a 5.33a 7.10a 77c
Runner tip 11.65a 6.35a 4.20a 2.86a 14.35a 9.85b 5.43a 6.60a 81b
F Test NS NS NS NS NS * NS NS *
S. Em. 0.40 0.21 0.06 0.03 0.36 0.41 0.23 0.23 0.70
C.D. @ 5% 1.21 0.63 0.19 0.10 1.07 1.24 0.68 0.69 2.2
C.V. % 15.85 15.92 10.08 9.21 13.37 17.46 21.06 16.14 40.94
Note : * Significant. @ 5% NS-Non significant
Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
Media -1=Coir peat + Perlite (1:1, v/v),
Media -2= Sand + Red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v).
Table 1a. Growth and per cent establishment of strawberry plugs cv. Strawberry Festival as influenced
by interaction effect between media and explant types

Crown
Shoot fresh Root fresh Shoot dry Root dry Root length No. of No. of %
diameter
weight (g) weight (g) weight (g) weight (g) (cm) Roots/plant leaves/pant establishment
(mm)
Treatments
M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M
1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2

first
13.20a 12.00a 7.40a 5.00a 4.17a 3.91a 2.86b 2.85a 13.50a 12.30a 10.00b 10.20a 5.40a 5.00a 6.40b 6.50a 92a 83a
node

second
14.10a 9.80b 7.00a 5.20a 4.15a 3.87a 2.94a 2.85a 13.90a 11.20a 13.00a 9.70a 5.80a 5.10a 8.20a 6.00a 74c 74b
node

Runner tip 12.50a 10.80a 7.50a 5.20a 4.28a 4.12a 3.01a 2.71a 12.80a 11.90a 14.00a 10.40a 5.10a 4.40a 7.36b 5.84a 83b 71c

F Test NS * NS NS NS NS * NS NS NS * NS NS NS * NS * *

S. Em . 0.57 0.30 0.09 0.05 0.50 0.59 0.32 0.32 1.05

C.D. @ 5% 1.32 0.89 0.28 0.12 1.51 1.76 0.97 0.97 3.16

C.V. % 15.85 15.92 10.08 9.21 13.37 17.46 21.06 16.14 40.94

Note : * Significant. @ 5% NS-Non significant


Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
M 1= Coir peat + Perlite (1:1, v/v),
M 2= Sand + Red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v)
16

14

12

10
grams

8
runner tip
1st node
6
2nd node
4

0
M1 M2 M1 M2 M1 M2 M1 M2

Shoot fresh weight Root fresh weight Shoot dry weight Root dry weight

Fig. 7. Biomass characters of strawberry plug cv. Strawberry Festival as influenced by interaction
effect between media and explant types

Note: M 1= Coir peat + Perlite (1:1, v/v),


M 2= Sand + Red earth +FYM (1:2:1, v/v)
4.2 SOILLESS CULTURE STUDIES

4.2.1 To study the effect of different soilless culture systems on


growth, yield and quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry
Festival

4.2.1.1 Growth parameters

The data pertaining to the growth parameters were statistically


significant and are presented in tables 2 and 3.

4.2.1.1.1 Total number of leaves per plant

The analyzed data of 20 DATP revealed that, significantly higher


number of leaves (8.75) produced in Open-trough system followed by
Lay-Flat-Bag system (7.08) and lowest (6.14) in Verti-Gro system.
Similarly, at the end of experiment, highest number of leaves (41.66) was
recorded in Open-trough system, followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (37.16)
and lowest (35.85) in Verti-Gro system.

4.2.1.1.2 Length of the most developed petiole per plant

At 20 DATP, longest petiole (12.20 cm) was produced in Open-


trough followed by Verti-Gro system (11.01 cm) and smallest in Lay-Flat-
Bag system (10.99 cm), but differences were on par with each other. The
data recorded at the end of experiment showed that significantly longer
petiole (13.60 cm) was produced in Open-trough as compared to Verti-
Gro (12.52 cm) and Lay-Flat-Bag (11.91 cm) systems. However, the
variation between Verti-Gro and Lay-Flat-Bag systems was on par with
each other.

4.2.1.1.3 Total leaf area per plant

Leaf area (2478.66 cm2) was recorded maximum in Open-trough


system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (2199.82 cm2) and were
statistically significant over Verti-Gro system (1719.24 cm2). .
Table 2. Petiole and leaf characters of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively
ventilated greenhouse as influenced by soilless culture systems

Length of Petiole No. of leaves/


Length of petiole No. of leaves/ Leaf area
Systems (End of Expt.) plant (End of
(20 DATP) (cm) plant (20 DATP) (cm2)
(cm) Expt.)

Open trough 12.20 13.60a 8.75a 41.66a 2478.66a

Lay-Flat-Bag 10.99 11.91b 7.08b 37.16ab 2199.82b

Verti-Gro 11.01 12.52b 6.14c 35.85b 1719.24c

F Test NS * * * *

S. Em. - 0.44 0.31 1.00 37.04

C.D. @ 5% - 1.31 0.93 3.01 111.13

C.V. % 13.46 12.70 15.30 9.25 5.65

Note : * Significant @ 5% NS - Non significant


Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
DATP= Days after transplanting
4.2.1.1.4 Plant crown diameter

The plants grown in Open-trough system produced significantly


largest crown (33.75 mm) as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag (30.50 mm) and
Verti-Gro (28.18 mm) systems. However the difference between Lay-Flat-
Bag and Verti-Gro systems was on par with each other.

4.2.1.1.5 Shoot and root fresh weight per plant

The plants grown in Open-trough system produced significantly


higher shoot fresh weight (60.97 g) followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system
(56.35 g) and the lowest (50.70 g) in Verti-Gro system. Similarly, highest
root fresh weight (16.50g) was recorded in Open-trough system followed
by Lay-Flat-Bag system (15.18 g) and lowest (13.81 g) in Verti-Gro
system.

4.2.1.1.6 Shoot and root dry weight per plant

Maximum shoot dry weight (21.10 g) was produced in Open-trough


system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (18.02 g) and lowest (15.40 g) in
Verti-Gro system. Similarly, the plants grown in Open-trough system
produced significantly higher root dry weight (5.74 g) followed by Lay-
Flat-Bag system (4.51 g) and lowest (3.58 g) was recorded in Verti-Gro
system.

4.2.1.2 Yield and fruit quality parameters

The results pertaining to yield and fruit quality parameters were


furnished in tables 4 and 5 and graphically shown in Fig. 8 and 9.

4.2.1.2.1 Days taken for flowering (flower initiation)

Plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system took least number of days (43


days) to initiate flowering followed by Open-trough (48 days) and highest
(59 days) was recorded in Verti-Gro system.
Table 3. Fresh and dry biomass and crown diameter of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in
passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by soilless culture systems

Crown
Shoot fresh Root fresh Shoot dry Root dry weight
Systems diameter
weight (g) weight (g) weight (g) (g)
(mm)

Open trough 60.79a 16.50a 21.10a 5.74a 33.75a

Lay-Flat-Bag 56.35b 15.18b 18.02b 4.51b 30.50b

Verti-Gro 50.70c 13.81c 15.40c 3.58c 28.18b

F Test * * * * *

S. Em. 0.83 0.26 0.28 0.18 0.86

C.D. @ 5% 2.48 0.78 0.85 0.55 2.58

C.V. % 5.35 6.23 5.69 14.40 10.09

Note : * Significant @ 5%
Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
4.2.1.2.2 Total number of flowers per plant

Soilless growing systems were significantly affected the number of


flowers during experimental period. The plants grown in Open-trough
system produced highest number of flowers (37.00) followed by Lay-Flat-
Bag system (32.58) and lowers (24.70) in Verti-Gro system.

4.2.1.2.3 Total number of fruits per plant

Higher number of fruits (22.66) was produced in Open-trough


system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (18.66) and was significant over
in Verti-Gro system (15.00).

4.2.1.2.4 Total fruit weight per plant

Fruit weight (281.83 g) was significantly higher in Open-trough


system grown plants followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (209.92 g) and
lowest (145.41 g) in Verti-Gro system.

4.2.1.2.5 Fruit length and diameter

Fruits produced in Open-trough system had significantly higher


length (33.66 mm) followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (30.75 mm) and it was
lowest (28.22 mm) in Verti-Gro system. Similarly, the significantly higher
fruit diameter (27.75 mm) was recorded in Open-trough system followed
by Lay-Flat-Bag system (26.16 mm) and lowest (24.93 mm) in Verti-Gro
system.

4.2.1.2.6 Fruit weight

The fruits produced on plants grown in Open-trough system


recorded significantly higher weight (13.30 g) followed by Lay-Flat-Bag
system (11.52) and lowest (10.17 g) in Verti-Gro system.
4.2.1.2.7 Total marketable fruits per plant

Significantly higher percentage of marketable fruits (78.33 %) was


produced in Open-trough system as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag (61.91%)
and Verti-Gro (60.93%) systems. While, the results of Lay-Flat-Bag and
Verti-Gro systems was on par with each other.

4.2.1.2.8 Total soluble solids of fruits

Fruits produced on plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system recorded


highest TSS (10.61 B) which was on par with Open-trough system (10.46
B) and it was lowest (9.68 B) in Verti-Gro system.

4.2.1.2.9 Titratable acidity of fruits

Significantly lower titratable acidity (0.80 %) was recorded in fruits


produced in Lay-Flat-Bag system which was on par with Open-trough
system (0.83 %), but it was highest (0.92 %) in Verti-Gro system.

4.2.1.3 Gas exchange parameters and photosynthaticaly active


radiation

Photosynthetic rate (A; mol/m 2/s), transpiration rate (E;


mmol/m2/s), stomatal conductance of water (gs; Mol/m 2/s) and light
incidence on leaf surface (Qleaf; Mol/m2/s) were recorded at the peak
fruiting stage of crop i.e. 110 and 120 days after transplanting (DATP).
The results detailed here and the pertaining data presented in table 6
and graphically shown in Fig. 10 and 11.

4.2.1.3.1 Photosynthetic rate

The highest photosynthetic rate (4.29 mol/m 2/s) at 110 DATP


was recorded in plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system which was on par
with Open-trough system (4.13 mol/m2/s) and lowest in Verti-Gro
system (1.86 mol/m2/s). At 120 DATP the highest photosynthetic rate
Table 4. Flower initiation and yield parameters of Strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in
passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by soilless culture systems

Days taken for Total fruit


Total No. of Total No. of Total marketable
Systems flowering weight / plant
flowers/plant fruits/ plant fruits/ plant (%)
(days) (g)

Open trough 48.00b 37.00a 281.83a 22.66a 78.33a

Lay-Flat-Bag 42.66b 32.58b 209.92b 18.66b 61.91b

Verti-Gro 59.00a 24.70c 144.41c 15.00c 60.93b

F Test * * * * *

S. Em. 0.61 1.26 11.79 0.57 1.54

C.D. @ 5% 1.84 3.80 35.38 1.73 4.62

C.V. % 4.45 14.41 20.05 11.12 8.30

Note: * Significant @ 5%
Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
Table 5. Size and quality of fruits of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively ventilated
greenhouse as influenced by soilless culture systems

Fruit length Fruit Dia.


Systems Fruit weight (g) TSS B Acidity (%)
(mm) (mm)

Open trough 33.66a 27.75a 13.30a 10.46a 0.83b

Lay-Flat-Bag 30.75b 26.16b 11.52ab 10.61a 0.80b

Verti-Gro 28.22c 24.93c 10.17b 9.68b 0.92a

F Test * * * * *

S. Em. 0.44 0.27 0.62 0.13 0.02

C.D. @ 5% 1.34 0.82 1.86 0.41 0.06

C.V. % 5.25 3.75 19.23 4.82 8.44

Note: * Significant @ 5%
Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
Fig. 8. Total soluble solids (B) and acidity (%) of fruits Fig. 9. Flower initiation of strawberry cv.
of Strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival as Strawberry Festival as influenced by soilless
influenced by soilless culture systems culture systems
(4.08 mol/m2/s) was recorded in plants grown in Open-trough system
which was on par with Lay-Flat-Bag system (3.32 mol/m2/s) and lowest
in Verti-Gro system (1.50 mol/m2/s).

4.2.1.3.2 Transpiration rate

The highest transpiration rate (3.03 mmol/m2/s) at 110 DATP was


observed in plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system which was on par with
Open trough system (3.01 mmol/m2/s) but was significant over in Verti-
Gro system (2.68 mMol/m2/s). Likewise, at 120 DATP the statistically on
par transpiration rates were recorded in Lay-Flat-Bag (3.08 mmol/m2/s),
Open-trough (3.05 mmol/m2/s) and Verti-Gro (2.76 mmol/m2/s)
systems respectively.

4.2.1.2.3 Stomatal conductance of water

Significantly higher stomatal conductance of water (0.13


mmol/m2/s) at 110 DATP was recorded in Open-trough system which
was on par with Lay-Flat-Bag system (0.13 mmol/m2/s) and it was
lowest (0.08 mmol/m2/s) in Verti-Gro system. However, higher stomatal
conductance of water (0.12 mmol/m 2/s) was observed at 120 DATP in
plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system as compared to Open-trough (0.11
mmol/m2/s) and lowest (0.10 mmol/m2/s) in Verti-Gro system, but
differences were statistically on par with each other.

4.2.1.3.4 Light incidence on leaf surface

Highest light incidence on leaf surface (162 mol/m 2/s) at 110


DATP was recorded on plants grown in Open-trough system which was
on par with Lay-Flat-Bag system (161 mol/m2/s) and lowest (112
mol/m2/s) was recorded on plants grown in Verti-Gro system. At 120
DATP the highest light incidence on leaf surface (159.33 mol/m 2/s) was
recorded on plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system which was on par with
Table 6. Gas exchange and photosyntheticaly active radiation parameters of strawberry cv. Strawberry
Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by soilless culture systems

Stomatal Light incident on


Transpiration rate Photosynthetic rate
conductance leaf surface
(mmol/m2/s) (mol/m2/s)
Systems (mol/m2/s) (mol/m2/s)

110 DATP 120 DATP 110 DATP 120 DATP 110 DATP 120 DATP 110 DATP 120 DATP

Open trough 3.01a 3.05 0.13a 0.11 4.13a 4.08a 162.66a 158.00a

Lay-Flat-Bag 3.03a 3.08 0.13a 0.12 4.29a 3.32a 161.00a 159.33a

Verti-Gro 2.68b 2.76 0.08b 0.10 1.86b 1.50b 112.00b 103.66b

F Test * NS * NS * * * *

S. Em. 0.10 - 0.01 - 0.40 0.50 14.54 13.15

C.D. @ 5% 0.29 - 0.03 - 1.19 1.50 43.61 39.45

C.V. % 5.09 6.73 16.16 8.65 17.42 25.28 15.03 14.27

Note : *Significant @ 5% NS- non-significant


Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
DATP= Days after transplanting
Fig. 10. Light incidence on leaf surface of Fig. 11. Photosynthetic rate of strawberry plant cv.
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival at 110 Strawberry Festival at 110 and 120 DATP as
and 120 DATP as influenced by soilless influenced by soilless culture systems
culture systems
Open-trough system (158.00 mol/m2/s) and lowest (103.66 mol/m2/s)
was recorded in Verti-Gro system.

4.2.2 To examine different types of media on growth, yield and fruit


quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival in Lay-Flat-Bag
soilless system

Two media compositions employed were 60% cocopeat+40%


perlite, v/v (T1) and 50% paddy husk+30% cocopeat+20%perlite, v/v (T 2)
in Lay-Flat-Bag system of soilless culture.

4.2.2.1 Growth parameters

The data pertaining to the growth parameters presented in tables 7


and 8.

4.2.2.1.1 Number of leaves per plant

At 20 DATP the number of leaves of plants grown on T1 was higher


(7.08) as compared to T2, but the difference was on par with each other.
While, at the end of experiment the number of leaves produced on T 1 was
significantly higher (37.16) as compared to T 2 (35.00).

4.2.2.1.2 Length of the most developed petiole

At 20 DATP, higher petiole length (10.99 cm) was recorded in


plants grown in T1 as compared to T2 (10.40 cm) but difference did not
differ significantly. At the end of experiment longer petiole (10.20 cm) was
recorded in T1 as compared to T2 (9.02 cm).

4.2.2.1.3 Leaf area per plant

Plants grown in T1 produced significantly higher leaf area (2199.82


cm2) as compared to T2 (2045.38 cm2).
Table 7. Petiole and leaf characters of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively
ventilated greenhouse as influenced by media in Lay-Flat-Bag soilless system

Length of petiole Length of petiole No. of leaves/ Leaf area/


No. of leaves/plant
Media type (20 DATP) (End of Expt.) plant plant
(End of Expt.)
(cm) (cm) (20 DATP) (cm2)

T1 10.99 10.58 7.08 37.16ab 2199.82a

T2 10.40 9.02 6.75 35.00b 2045.38ab

F Test NS NS NS * *

S. Em. - 0.39 - 0.69 20.50

C.D. @ 5 % - 1.18 - 2.08 61.51

C.V. % 12.51 14.21 16.64 8.83 3.26

Note : * significant @ 5% NS- non significant


Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5 %)
T1 - (cocopeat 60 % +perlite 40 %, v/v).
T2 - (paddy husk 50 % + coco peat 30 %+perlite 20 %, ).
DATP= Days after transplanting
4.2.2.1.4 Plant crown diameter

Media composition was significantly affected the plant crown


diameter. The plants grown in T1 produced larger crown (30.50 mm) as
compared to plants grown in T2 (27.50 mm).

4.2.2.1.5 Shoot and root fresh weight

Shoot and root fresh weight was significantly influenced by media


compositions. The plants grown in T1 produced higher shoot fresh weight
(56.35 g) as compared to plants grown on T2 (51.16 g). Similarly, root
fresh weight of plants grown in T1 was significantly higher (15.18 g) as
compared to T2 (13.58 g).

4.2.2.1.6 Shoot and root dry weight

Shoot and root dry weight markedly influenced by media


composition. The plants grown in T1 produced significantly higher shoot
dry weight (18.02 g) as compared to plants grown in T2 (15.30 g).
Similarly higher root dry weight (4.51 g) was obtained from T 1 as
compared to T2 (2.92 g).

4.2.2.2 Yield and fruit quality parameters

The data pertaining to yield and fruit quality parameters presented


in tables 9 and 10.

4.2.2.2.1 Days taken for flowering

Although, 50 per cent of the labelled plants grown in T 1 required


less number of days (42.66 days) to flower as compared to plants grown
in T2 (43.08 days ), but this difference was on par with each other.

4.2.2.2.2 Total number of flowers per plant

Significantly higher number of flowers (33.58) was recorded on


plants grown in T1 as compared to T2 (27.50).
Table 8. Fresh and dry biometric and crown characters of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in
passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by media in Lay-Flat-Bag soilless system

Shoot fresh Root fresh Shoot dry Root dry weight Crown
Media type
weight (g) weight (g) weight (g) (g) diameter (mm)

T1 56.35a 15.18a 18.02a 4.51a 30.50a

T2 51.16b 13.58b 15.30b 2.92b 27.50b

F Test * * * * *

S. Em. 1.46 0.31 0.40 0.14 0.69

C.D. @ 5 % 4.37 0.92 1.19 0.43 2.08

C.V. % 9.61 7.58 8.43 13.84 8.51

Note : * significant @ 5%
Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
T1 - (cocopeat 60 % +perlite 40 %, v/v)
T2 - (paddy husk 50 % + coco peat 30 %+perlite, v/v)
4.2.2.2.3 Total number of fruits per plant

The significant influence of media composition in total number of


fruits was observed. Higher number of fruits (18.16) was produced in T 1
as compared to T2 (15.91).

4.2.2.2.4 Total fruit weight per plant

The analysed data revealed that, significantly higher fruit weight


(209.92 g) was obtained from plants grown in T 1 as compared to T2
(171.30 g).

4.2.2.2.5 Total marketable fruits per plant

Significantly higher percentage of marketable fruits (61.91) was


obtained from plants grown in T1 as compared to T2 (52.08 %).

4.2.2.2.6 Fruit weight

Fruits obtained from plants grown in T1 recorded higher weight


(11.52 g) but was not significantly higher than fruits obtained from
plants grown in T2 (10.73 g).

4.2.2.2.7 Fruit length and diameter

Fruit length and diameter significantly influenced by media


composition. Fruits obtained from plants grown in T 1 recorded higher
length (30.75 mm) as compared to T2 (28.16 mm). Similarly, significantly
higher fruit diameter (26.16 mm) was recorded in T 1 as compared to T2
(24.91 mm).

4.2.2.2.8 Total Soluble Solid of fruits

Higher TSS content (10.61B) was recorded in fruits that obtained


from plants grown in T1 as compared to T2 (10.35 B), but the difference
was was on par with each other.
Table 9. Flower initiation and fruit characters of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in
passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by media in Lay-Flat-Bag soilless system

Days taken for Total fruit Total


Total No. of Total No. of
Media type flowering weight / plant marketable
flowers/plant fruits/ plant
(days) (g) fruits/ plant (%)

T1 42.66 33.58a 209.92a 18.16a 61.91a

T2 43.08 27.50b 171.30b 15.91b 52.08b

F Test NS * * * *

S. Em. - 1.25 10.73 0.60 1.42

C.D. @ 5 % - 3.74 32.20 1.79 4.26

C.V. % 5.70 14.47 19.95 12.42 8.83

Note : * significant @ 5% NS- non significant


Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
T1 - (cocopeat 60 % +perlite 40 %, v/v).
T2 - (paddy husk 50 % + coco peat 30 %+perlite 20 %, v/v).
Table 10. Fruit size and quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively ventilated
greenhouse as influenced by media in Lay-Flat-Bag soilless system

Fruit length Fruit Dia. Mean fruit Acidity


Media type TSS B
(mm) (mm) weight (g/fruit) (%)

T1 30.75a 26.16a 11.52 10.61 0.86

T2 28.16b 24.91b 10.73 10.35 0.85

F Test * * NS NS NS

S. Em. 0.5 0.32 - - -

C.D. @ 5 % 1.50 0.96 - - -

C.V. % 6.05 4.46 15.55 4.94 6.87

Note : * significant @ 5% NS- non significant


Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
T1 - (pocopeat 60 % +perlite 40 %, v/v).
T2 - (paddy husk 50 % + coco peat 30 %+perlite 20%, v/v).
A

B
C

Plate 8. General view of soilless culture systems at 80 days after


transplanting; A) Verti-Gro system, B) Open-trough system
and C) Lay-Flat-Bag system

A B

Plate 9. Effect of soilless media on the growth of strawberry plants


cv. Strawberry Festival at 80 days after transplanting. A)
T1 and B) T2
4.2.2.2.9 Titratable acidity of fruits

Statistically on par results of titratable acidity of the fruits was


obtained in T1 (0.86 %) and T2 (0.85 %).

4.2.3 To study the effect of tier position in the vertically growing


system (Verti-Gro) of soilless culture on growth, yield and fruit
quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival

In this study four treatments (position of four tiers in Verti-Gro


system) have been evaluated on growth yield and fruit quality of
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival and the results are depicted below.

4.2.3.1 Growth parameters

The data pertaining to growth parameters are presented in tables


11 and 12, respectively.

4.2.3.1.1 Length of the most developed petiole per plant

Highest petiole length (11.75 cm) at 20 DATP was recorded on


plants grown in fourth tier followed by third tier (11.33 cm) and lowest
(10.40 cm) in first tier, but the differences were on par with each other.
While at the end of experiment the significantly longer petiole (13.75 cm)
was observed in fourth tier followed by third tier (12.9 cm) and smaller
(11.03 cm) in first tier.

4.2.3.1.2 Total number of leaves per plant

At 20 DATP highest number of leaves (6.75) was recorded in first


tier, followed by second tier (6.25) and was significant over (5.58) in third
tier, but differences were on par with each other. Whereas at the end of
experiment significantly higher number of leaves (39.00) was observed in
first tier followed by second tier (37.08) and lower in fourth tier (32.16).
4.2.3.1.3 Total leaf area per plant

Maximum leaf area (2002.64 cm2) was obtained from plants grown
in first tier followed by second tier (1884.75 cm 2) and it was minimum
(1614.08 cm2) in fourth tier.

4.2.3.1.4 Plant crown diameter

Plant crown diameter was significantly affected by tier position.


The highest (31.00 mm) was recorded in plants of first tier followed by
second tier (29.58 mm) and lowest (25.83 mm) in fourth tier.

4.2.3.1.5 Shoot and root fresh weight per plant

Significantly higher shoot fresh weight (55.34 g) was recorded from


plants grown in first tier followed by plants of second tier (53.44 g) and
lowest (46.05 g) in fourth tier. Similarly, highest root fresh weight (15.41
g) was obtained from first tier followed by second tier (13.73 g) and lowest
(12.69 g) from fourth tier.

4.2.3.1.6 Shoot and root dry weight per plant

Significantly higher shoot dry weight (17.27 g) was obtained from


plants grown in first tier followed by second tier (16.56 g) and lowest
(13.12 g) in fourth tier. With regard to root dry weight, significantly
higher (4.41 g) was obtained from first tier followed by second tier (4.01
g) and lowest (3.28 g) from fourth tier.

4.2.3.2 Yield and fruit quality parameters

The pertaining data of yield and quality parameters presented in


tables 13 and 14 and graphically shown in Fig. 12 and 13.

4.2.3.2.1 Days taken for flowering

The flower initiation was significantly influenced by tier position.


The highest number of days (65.41) was required for plants of fourth tier
Table 11. Petiole and leaf characters of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively
ventilated greenhouse as influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless culture system

Petiole length Petiole length No of leaves/ No of leaves/ Leaf area/


Tier position on
(20 DATP) (End of Expt.) plant plant plant
the column
(cm) (cm) (20 DATP) (End of Expt.) (cm2)

Tier (1) 10.40 11.03c 6.75 39.00a 2002.64a

Tier (2) 10.58 11.03c 6.25 37.08a 1884.75b

Tier (3) 11.33 12.91b 5.58 34.33b 1775.50c

Tier (4) 11.75 13.75a 6.00 32.16c 1614.08d

F Test NS * NS * *

S. Em. - 0.24 - 0.69 25.63

C.D. @ 5% - 0.74 - 2.08 76.91

C.V. % 19.07 7.40 20.43 7.11 5.13

Note: * significant @ 5% NS- non significant


Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
DATP=days after transplanting
Table 12. Fresh and dry biomass and crown diameter of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in
passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless
culture system

Shoot fresh Root fresh Shoot dry Root dry Plant crown
Tier position
weight (g) weight (g) weight (g) weight (g) diameter (mm)

Tier (1) 55.34a 15.41a 17.27a 4.41a 31.00a

Tier (2) 53.44a 13.73b 16.56a 4.01ab 29.58a

Tier (3) 47.96b 13.42bc 14.65b 3.55bc 26.33b

Tier (4) 46.05b 12.69c 13.12c 3.28c 25.83b

F Test * * * * *

S. Em. 1.18 0.30 0.37 0.18 1.03

C.D. @ 5% 3.55 0.91 1.11 0.55 3.08

C.V. % 8.52 8.02 8.82 17.60 13.28

Note: * significant @ 5%
Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
to initiate flowering followed by plants of third tier (60.58) and it was
lowest (56.75) in plants of first tier.

4.2.3.2.2 Total number of flowers per plant

Tier position was significantly affected the total number of


flowers/plant. The highest (29.16) were produced on plants grown in first
tier followed by plants of second tier (24.75) and lowest (20.91) in fourth
tier.

4.2.3.2.3 Total number of fruits per plant

Maximum number of fruits (18.50) was obtained from plants grown


in first tier as compared to second tier (14.50), third tier (14.16) and
fourth tier (12.83). Whereas, the number of fruits declined toward lower
section of the column, but the results among second, third and fourth
tiers were statistically on par with each other.

4.2.3.2.4 Fruit weight

Plants grown in first tier produced significantly higher fruit weight


(11.47 g) followed by plants of second tier (10.64 g) and lowest (8.02 g)
was obtained from fourth tier.

4.2.3.2.5 Total fruit weight per plant

The data pertaining to total fruit weight showed significant


differences among tier position. The highest fruit weight (194.60 g)
produced on plants of first tier followed by second tier (145.10 g) and
lowest (101.64 g) on plants of fourth tier.

4.2.3.2.6 Fruit length and diameter

The fruits produced on plants of first tier showed significantly


higher length (40.75 mm) followed by fruits obtained from third tier
(33.75 mm) and lowest (33.25 mm) was recorded in fourth tier. With
Table 13. Flower initiation and yield of Strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively
ventilated greenhouse as influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless culture system

Total
Days taken
marketable Total No of Total No of Weight of
Tier position for flowering
fruits/ plant flowers/plant fruits/ plant fruit/ plant (g)
(days)
(%)

Tier (1) 56.75c 68.33a 29.16a 18.50a 194.60a

Tier (2) 60.25b 60.50b 24.75b 14.50b 145.10b

Tier (3) 60.58b 59.41b 24.00b 14.16b 140.32b

Tier (4) 65.41a 49.08c 20.91c 12.83b 101.64c

F Test * * * * *

S. Em. 0.87 2.07 0.66 0.72 9.99

C.D. @ 5 % 2.62 6.21 1.97 2.16 29.98

C.V. % 5.25 12.73 9.70 17.56 25.06

Note: * significant @ 5%
Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
regard to fruit diameter, significantly higher (33.83 mm) was recorded in
first tier as compared to all other tiers and lowest (26.00 mm) in fourth
tier, but the differences among second, third and fourth tiers were
statistically on par with each others.

4.2.3.2.7 Total marketable fruits per plant

The plants grown in first tier produced significantly higher


percentage of marketable fruits (63.33 %) followed by second tier (60.50
%) and lowest (49.08 %) in fourth tier.

4.2.3.2.8 Total Soluble Solids of fruits

Significantly higher TSS (10.51 B) was recorded in fruits produced


in first tier followed by second tier (10.15 B) and lowest (8.44 B) in
fourth tier.

4.2.3.2.9 Titratable acidity of fruits

The significantly lower acidity (0.81%) was recorded in fruits


produced in first tier followed by second tier (0.83 %) and it was highest
(1.04 %) in fourth tier.

4.2.3.3 Gas exchange parameters and photosynthaticaly active


radiation

Photosynthetic rate (A; mol/m2/s), transpiration rate (E;


mmol/m2/s), stomatal conductance of water (gs; mol/m 2/s) and light
incidence on leaf surface (Qleaf; mol/m 2/s) were recorded at the peak
fruiting stage of crop i.e. 110 and 120 days after transplanting (DATP)
and pertaining data furnished in table 15 and graphically shown in Fig.
14 and 15.
Table 14. Fruit size and quality of Strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival grown in passively ventilated
greenhouse as influenced by tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless culture system

Mean fruit Mean fruit Mean fruit Dia. TSS Mean acidity
Tier position
weight (g/fruit) length (mm) (mm) B (%)

Tier (1) 11.47a 30.75a 26.25a 10.51a 0.81c

Tier (2) 10.64a 28.25b 25.91a 10.15a 0.83bc

Tier (3) 10.55a 28.08b 25.50a 9.62b 0.91b

Tier (4) 8.02b 25.83c 22.08b 8.44c 1.04a

F Test * * * * *

S. Em. 0.64 0.50 0.34 0.16 0.03

C.D. @ 5 % 1.92 1.52 1.04 0.49 0.09

C.V. % 22.98 6.56 5.09 6.15 13.01

Note: * significant @ 5%
Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5 %)
TSS (B) Acidity (%) 68

12 1.2 66

10 1 64

62

Number of days
8 0.8

Acidity (%)
TSS (B)

60
6 0.6
58
4 0.4
56

2 0.2
54

0 0 52
Tier (1) Tier (2) Tier (3) Tier (4) Tier (1) Tier (2) Tier (3) Tier (4)

Tier position in the Verti-Gro system Tier position in the Verti-Gro system

Fig. 12. Total soluble solids (B) and Acidity (%) of Fig. 13. Flower initiation of strawberry cv.
Strawberry fruits cv. Strawberry Festival Strawberry Festival as influenced by tier
as influenced by tier position in the Verti- position in the Verti-Gro soilless culture
Gro soilless culture system system
4.2.3.3.1 Photosynthetic rate

At 110 DATP, the maximum photosynthetic rate (4.46 mol/m 2/s)


was recorded in first tier followed by second tier (3.26 mol/m 2/s) and
minimum (1.68 mol/m2/s) in fourth tier. At 120 DATP significantly
higher photosynthetic rate (3.75 Mol/m 2/s) was recorded in first tier as
compared to second tier (1.82 mol/m 2/s), third tier (1.66 mol/m2/s)
and fourth tier (1.68 mol/m2/s), but the results among second, third
and fourth tiers were on par with each other.

4.2.3.3.2 Transpiration rate

At 110 DATP higher transpiration rate (3.50 mmol/m2/s) was


observed in plants grown in first tier followed by second tier (2.93
mmol/m2/s) and lowest (2.80 mmol/m2/s) in third tier, but the
differences were on par with each other. Similarly, at 120 DATP on par
results obtained with regard to transpiration rate in first tier (3.36
mmol/m2/s) third tier (2.99 mmol/m2/s) and second tier (2.89
mmol/m2/s).

4.2.3.3.3 Stomatal conductance of water

Stomatal conductance of water at 110 DATP was recorded higher


(0.09 mmol/m2/s) in first tier and lower in second tier (0.08
mmol/m2/s), but the differences was not significant. Similarly, at120
DATP on par results obtained with respect to stomatal conductance of
water in first tier (0.09 mmol/m 2/s) equally respectively in second (0.09
mmol/m2/s) and third (0.09 mmol/m2/s) tiers and lower in fourth tier
(0.08 mmol/m2/s).

4.2.3.3.4 Light incidence on leaf surface

At110 DATP significantly higher light incidence on leaf surface


(148.00 mol/m2/s) was recorded in first tier followed by second tier
(115.00 mol/m2/s) and lowest (76.66 mol/m2/s) in fourth tier.
Similarly, at 120 DATP highest light incidence on leaf surface (146.66
mol/m2/s) was recorded in first tier followed by second tier (120.00
mol/m2/s) and lowest (74.66 mol/m2/s) in fourth tier.

The mean weekly temperature of passively ventilated greenhouse


graphically presented in Appendix-I.

The nutrients analysis of leaf and petiole was also done at the end
of experiment and the results furnished in Appendix-II.
Table 15. Gas exchange and photosynthaticaly active radiation parameters of strawberry cv.
Strawberry Festival grown in passively ventilated greenhouse as influenced by tier position
in the Verti-Gro soilless culture system

Light incidence on
Transpiration rate Stomatal conductance Photosynthetic rate
leaf surface
(mmol/m2/s) of water (mol/m2/s) (mol/m2/s)
Tier (mol/m2/s)
position
120 110 110
110 DATP 110 DATP 120 DATP 120 DATP 120 DATP
DATP DATP DATP

Tier 1 3.50 3.36 0.09 0.09 4.46a 3.75a 148.00a 146.66a

Tier 2 2.93 2.89 0.08 0.09 3.26b 1.82b 115.00b 120.00b

Tier 3 2.80 2.99 0.09 0.09 2.37bc 1.66 b 97.33c 93.00c

Tier 4 2.89 2.93 0.08 0.08 1.68c 1.68 b 76.66d 74.66c

F Test NS NS NS NS * * * *

S. Em. - - - - 0.37 0.46 5.56 5.69

C.D. @ 5% - - - - 1.12 1.37 16.69 17.06

C.V. % 20.65 18.43 29.79 19.66 20.20 32.70 8.11 8.30

Note: * significant @ 5% NS- non significant


Figures with no or similar letters are non-significant (C.D. @ 5%)
DATP= days after transplanting
Fig. 14. Light incidence on leaf surface of strawberry Fig. 15. Photosynthetic rate of strawberry plants
plants cv. Strawberry Festival at 110 and 120 cv. Strawberry Festival at 110 and 120
DATP as influenced by tier position in the DATP as influenced by tier position in
Verti-Gro soilless culture system the Verti-Gro soilless culture system
Plate 10. Strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival plugs produced from
first order node on 50 % coco peat + 50 % perlite (v/v)

Plate 11. Strawberry plants cv. Strawberry Festival growth and


development in Open-trough and Verti-Gro systems at 95
days after transplanting
DISCUSSION
V. DISCUSSION

The use of strawberry (Fragaria ananassa Duch.) plug is becoming


popular among strawberry growers, but quality of transplants is the
main limiting factor of strawberry production (Gimenez et al., 2009). On
the other hand, there is also a big demand for healthy strawberry
propagules because of increase in production area. One of the drawbacks
with plug plants is that they are not commercially available at the correct
time of planting (Rowley et al., 2010). However, with some attention to
detail, plug plants can be produced in a tunnel, temporary mist chamber
or on site greenhouse in large number and in appropriate time for open
field or greenhouse (soilless culture) planting.

Recently many investigations have been undertaken globally to


improve the productivity of strawberry under soilless culture systems.
Growing strawberry under such systems reduces water consumption,
uses no or very less herbicides, keeps fruit clean, increases fruit size and
yield and enhances earliness and fruit quality (Yuan and Sun, 2004).
Hence, there is big demand for soilless strawberry production during
recent years to extend the harvest period. On the other hand soilless
cultivation of strawberries provided an important advantage by avoiding
the need to sterilize the soil. As observed, the productivity and quality of
strawberry fruits is highly influenced by the types of media and growing
systems under soilless culture.

In the present investigation, an attempt was made to find out the


effective measures for strawberry plug production with respect to media
and explants used. The studies were extended to determine the suitable
growing system and media for quality fruit production in soilless culture.
The results obtained in these studies are discussed here under different
heads quoting available literature.
5.1 PLUG PRODUCTION STUDIES

5.1.1 Effect of explant types on growth of plug

Two sources of media i.e. coir-peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) and sand +
red-earth + FYM (1:2:1, v/v) and three different explants types (first and
second order nodes and runner tip) were employed.

The results of the studies revealed that, the explant types did not
have significant effect on plug biomass. Similar findings were reported by
Turkben (2008) on strawberry plug production from runner node order
and runner tip, that there was no difference observed among order nodes
and runner tip with regard to plug growth and biometric characters.
However, in the present studies significantly highest number of roots per
plug (12.20) was observed from first order node and lowest (9.85) in
runner tip. This result might be attributed to comparatively higher
maturity of runner order node than runner tip. As reported by Takeda et
al. (2004), strawberry plugs raised from second order node produced
higher number of roots (20.5) as compared to eighth order node (9.6). He
opined that order node with more maturity performed better than that of
less mature. Further he argued that, plugs developed from order node in
further distanced from mother plant had a reduced rooting ability. Anna
and Iapichino (2002) were observed no increased rooting ability of runner
tip as compared to runner order nodes in strawberry.

When plug establishment, at the end of plug production cycle, was


evaluated, significantly higher per cent establishment (89) was recorded
in plugs produced from first order node and lowest (71 %) was recorded
from second order node. This difference might be due to difference in
weight of explant types. Takeda et al. (2004) reported that maximum
strawberry transplant production (94%) was recorded from medium sized
order node (between 2.5 to 4.0 g) as compared to minimum (80 %) from
light weight order node (2.5 g) followed by very heavy (>6g) order node
(83 %).

5.1.2 Effect of media types on growth of plug

Plug establishment and biomass characters, including shoot and


root fresh and dry weight (g), number of roots per plug, length of the
most developed root per plug (mm), number of leaves per plug and crown
diameter (mm), were significantly affected by media types i.e. coir-peat +
perlite (1:1, v/v) and sand + red-earth + FYM (1:2:1, v/v).

It is observed that longer roots (15.40 mm) was produced on coir-


peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) as compared to sand + red-earth + FYM (1:2:1,
v/v) (13.80 mm). This result might be due to good aeration, high water
holding capacity (WHC) and low cohesive pressure of coco-peat + perlite
mixture as compared to sand + red-earth + FYM mixture which could
allow more penetration and development of the roots. Similar results
were reported by Ercisli et al. (2005) that in cvs. Camarosa and Fern,
longest root (46.82 cm) was observed in plants grown in peat+perlite (1:1,
v/v) mixture as compared to forest soil (34.63 cm) or peat medium (37.60
cm), they attributed this variation to low water tension, good aeration
and high WHC of peat+perlite as compared to forest soil and/or peat
medium.

Higher number of roots (12.33) was observed in plugs produced on


coco-peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) as compared to sand+ red-earth + FYM
(1:2:1, v/v) (10.10). This result could be due to higher WHC, better
aeration and low level of water tension of perlite+coco-peat mixture,
which would contribute in better water and nutrient uptake by roots of
plug. Ercisli et al. (2005) studied the effect of growing media on the
growth of strawberry cvs. Camarosa and Fern, the number of primary
roots per plant was higher (30.83) in perlite medium as compared to
forest soil (18.60). The reason behind this finding was low cohesive
pressure, good aeration and high WHC of peat+perlite as compared to
forest soil.

Higher number of leaves (5.48) was produced by plugs raised on


coco-peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) as compared to sand+ red-earth + FYM
(1:2:1, v/v) (4.83). This finding may be attributed to the higher WHC and
good aeration of coco-peat + perlite medium which might contribute in
adequate nitrogen and other mineral nutrients uptake. Since nitrogen is
primary component of all nucleic acids, protein and chlorophyll. Similar
observation was also reported by Cantliffe et al. (2007) in cv. Sweet
Charlie that larger number of leaves per plant produced in peat-mix is
related to its higher WHC (42.9%) and total porosity (71.6 %) as
compared to pine bark with WHC (16.9 %) and total porosity (63.3 %)
respectively.

In strawberry, crown diameter is an important determinant of


vegetative growth and fruit yields (Bish et al., 1997). As analysed data
revealed, the larger plug crown diameter (7.32 mm) was produced on
coco-peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) as compared to sand+ red-earth + FYM
(1:2:1, v/v) (6.11 mm). This result might be due to better growing
condition of coco-peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) media as compared to sand+
red-earth + FYM (1:2:1, v/v) mixture. This could help in better nutrient
uptake hence better growth of plugs. Similar results were also reported
by Paranjpe et al. (2003) that, larger strawberry crown diameter was
observed in peat mix may be due to its higher water holding capacity and
aeration as compared to pine bark or coarse perlite which could help in
better nutrients uptake. And Bartczak et al. (2007) reported that, larger
crown diameter (14.7 mm) was observed in rockwool alone as compared
to brown coal + rockwool (11.2mm) in strawberry. They opined that,
media with low water tension, performed better.
Higher establishment (87%) was observed in plugs produced on
coco-peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) mixture as compared to sand+ red-earth +
FYM (1:2:1, v/v) (80%). These results can be attributed to good root and
crown development in this medium which could lead to better utilization
of nutrients and water hence, higher establishment percentage. As
reported by Takeda et al. (2004) that higher establishment (98%) was
recorded in strawberry plug with longer root formations (18).

Higher shoot fresh weight (13.26 g) and root fresh weight (7.30 g)
were observed in plugs raised on coco-peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) as
compared to shoot fresh weight (10.86 g) and root fresh weight (5.13 g) of
plugs produced on sand+ red-earth + FYM (1:2:1, v/v). This might be
attributed to increased plug water level and higher number of roots and
leaf which could contribute in enhancing the fresh weight of plugs. As
reported by Ghazvini et al., (2007), higher water retention in perlite +
coco-peat increased strawberry plug water level which caused an
increase in fresh weight.

Similar to fresh weight, higher shoot dry weight (4.20 g) and root
dry weight (2.93 g) was observed in plugs produced on coco-peat + perlite
(1:1, v/v) as compared to shoot dry weight (3.96 g) and root dry
weight(1.80 g) of plugs produced on sand + red-earth + FYM (1:2:1, v/v).
This result might be attributed to higher fresh biomass produced on
coco-peat + perlite (1:1, v/v) which might contributed to higher dry
weight of plugs and better media condition which could help in better
nutrients uptake by plugs. Ercisli et al. (2005) reported that higher root
fresh weight (25.90 g) was produced higher root dry weight (8.28 g) as
compared to lower root fresh weight (11.46 g) produced lower root dry
weight (5.51 g) in cv. Fern. Similar observations were reported by Al-
Raisy et al. (2010) in cv. Camarosa with respect to shoot fresh and dry
weights. Awad et al. (2010) reported that, adequate absorption of
nitrogen, potassium and boron enhanced the amount of metabolites
necessary for building plant organ, consequently increased the dry
weight of strawberry plants.

5.2 SOILLESS CULTURE STUDIES

5.2.1 Effect of different soilless culture systems on growth, yield


and fruit quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival

The different soilless culture systems (Open-trough, Lay-Flat-Bag,


and Verti-Gro) were compared on growth, yield and fruit quality of
strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival.

5.2.1.1 Growth parameters

The analyzed data of 20 DATP revealed that, significantly higher


number of leaves (8.75) was produced in Open-trough system followed by
Lay-Flat-Bag system (7.08) and lowest (6.14) in Verti-Gro system.
Similarly, at the end of experiment, the highest number of leaves (41.66)
was recorded in Open-trough system, followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system
(37.16) and lowest (35.85) in Verti-Gro system. These results might be
attributed to larger substrate volume of Open-trough as compared to
Lay-Flat-Bag system. The shading effect of upper tier in Verti-Gro system
on lower section reduced the photosynthetic rate and hence leaf number.
Similar results were reported by Cantliffe et al. (2007) that, larger volume
of bags (18 L) as compared to polygal troughs (12 L) enhanced the
vegetative growth of strawberry plants and subsequently increased the
number of leaves. According to Al-Raisy et al. (2010), in strawberry cv.
Camarosa the number of leaves decreased with increase in column size
in Verti-Gro system due to reduced light intensity in lower sections.

At 20 DATP there was no difference observed among the systems


with respect to length of petiole. Whereas at the end of experiment,
significantly longest petiole (13.60 cm) was observed in Open-trough as
compared to Verti-Gro (12.52 cm) and Lay-Flat-Bag (11.91 cm) systems.
These results might be due to larger bed volume of Open-trough system
as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag system which could lead the adequate
absorption of water and nutrients by plants and consequently larger leaf
petiole formation. As reported by Awad et al. (2010), adequate absorption
of nitrogen, potassium and boron enhanced the amount of metabolites
necessary for building plant organ, consequently the vegetative growth of
strawberry plant.

Maximum leaf area (2478.66 cm2) was recorded in Open-trough


system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (2199.82 cm2) and minimum
(1719.24 cm2) in Verti-Gro system. These findings might be due to the
highest number of leaves produced in Open-trough system because of
larger growing medium. As reported by Cantliffe et al. (2007), the larger
volume of the polyethylene bags (18 L) as compared to plygal troughs (12
L) enhanced the vegetative growth of strawberry plants and subsequently
increased the leaf area. The reduction in Lay-Flat-Bag may be due to
excessive bed temperature due to colour of polyethylene (black). As
reported by Lim (1985), the black polythene had 10C higher temperature
than white one and this factor reduced the vegetative growth of
muskmelon. Production of less number of leaves in Verti-Gro system
maybe contributed to less leaf area production in this system. As
observed by Jagadeesh (2001), the higher number of leaves (63.73)
directly contributed in production of higher leaf area (3541.69 cm 2) and
lower number of leaves (53.57) contributed in production of lower leaf
area (2963.90 cm2) in strawberry cv. Sujatha.

Significantly larger crown diameter (33.75 mm) was recorded in


Open-trough system as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag (30.50 mm) and Verti-
Gro (28.18 mm) systems. The larger crown diameter of plants grown in
Open-trough might be due to its larger bed volume as compared to Lay-
Flat-Bag system and higher photosynthetic rate as compared to Verti-Gro
system. Similar results were also reported by Cantliffe et al. (2007) that,
strawberry crown diameter was affected by container volume. The larger
crown diameter observed in bags with (18 L) volume as compared to
troughs with (12 L) volume. Similarly, Al-Raisy et al. (2010) reported that,
in Verti-Gro system due to reduction in photosynthesis rate in lower tier,
the crown diameter of strawberry cv. Camarosa was decreased.

The plants grown in Open-trough system produced higher shoot


fresh weight (60.97 g) followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (56.35 g) and was
significant over than Verti-Gro system (50.70 g). Similarly highest root
fresh weight (16.50g) was recorded in Open-trough system followed by
Lay-Flat-Bag system (15.18 g) and lowest (13.81 g) in Verti-Gro system.
These results might be due to larger substrate volume of Open-trough
system as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag system and higher photosynthetic
rate as compared to Verti-Gro system. The report of Cantliffe et al. (2007)
revealed that, larger container volume of polyethylene bags (18 L)
increased the vegetative growth of strawberry as compared to smaller
container volume of polygal trough (12 L). Lower light penetration to the
canopy of plants in lower tier consequently resulted in reduction of plant
fresh weight in Verti-Gro system. Similar observations were reported by
Al-Raisy et al. (2010) that in cv. Camarosa highest shoot fresh weight
(173.96 g) was produced in column made of 6 pots as compared to 7 pots
per column (100.00g) and 8 pots per column (68.23 g), these results was
attributed to higher penetration of light to the plants canopy in tower of 6
pots per column in comparison with column of 7 and 8 pots.

Higher shoot dry weight (21.10 g) was produced in Open-trough


system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (18.02 g) which was significant
over the Verti-Gro system (15.40 g). Similarly highest root dry weight
(5.74 g) was observed in Open-trough system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag
system (4.51 g) and lowest (3.58 g) in Verti-Gro system. These findings
might be due to highest shoot and root fresh weight recorded in Open-
trough which might contributed in its dry weight. Ercisli et al. (2005)
reported that higher root fresh weight (25.90 g) was produced higher root
dry weight (8.28 g) as compared to lower root fresh weight (11.46 g)
produced lower root dry weight (5.51 g) in cv. Fern. Similar observations
were reported by Al-Raisy et al. (2010) in cv. Camarosa with respect to
shoot fresh and dry weights.

5.2.1.2 Yield and fruit quality parameters

Plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system took minimum number of days


(43 days) to flower followed by Open-trough (48 days) and it was
maximum (59 days) in Verti-Gro system. These results might be due to
maximum exposure of plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system to light which
might trigger floral induction. When additional light from high-intensity
discharge mercury lamps with an intensity of (300 mol/m 2/s) was
provided, a gain in earliness of 10 to 15 days of fruit production was
achieved in strawberry cv. Primella (Ceulemans et al., 1986). In Open-
trough 10 cm height of side walls shaded the lower parts of plant
resulted in initial increase of vegetative growth and delayed flower
induction. In Verti-Gro system the effect of shading of upper tier on lower
plants delayed the transition of vegetative to reproductive growth. Cited
by Villiers (2008) that, low light intensity delayed reproductive growth in
strawberry (Awang and Atherton, 1995). Albaho et al. (2008) reported
that the strawberry flower initiation was earlier in closed insulated palate
system (16 days ATP) as compared to nutrient film technique (NFT) (28
days ATP). This result was attributed to shading affect of NFT system (15
cm deep) on crown portion of plants.

Systems of growing had significant effect on total number of flowers.


The highest number of flowers (37.00) were recorded in Open-trough and
followed by Lay-Flat-Bag (32.58) and lowest values (24.70) in Verti-Gro
system. This might be due to larger container size of Open-trough as
compared to Lay-Flat-Bag system and higher photosynthetic rate as
compared to Verti-Gro system. Cantliffe et al. (2007) reported that, larger
container volume of polyethylene bags (18 L) increased the reproductive
growth of strawberry plants as compared to smaller container volume of
polygal troughs (12 L). Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.) in high light
intensity (300 mol/m2/s) produced significantly more flowersper plant
than at lower light intensity (22 or 150 mol/m 2/s) (Chabot, 1978).

Significantly higher number of fruits (22.66) was produced in Open-


trough system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (18.66) and lowest (15.00)
in Verti-Gro system. This can be attributed to higher number of flowers
produced in Open-trough which might contribute in higher number of
fruits. Jafarnia et al. (2010), in a study on strawberry cvs. Fresno, Selva
and Kurdestan found that higher number of flowers (3.91) produced
higher number of fruits (1.50) in weekly basis. Similar observations were
recorded by Omari (2008), in cv. Sujatha that more number of flowers
(25.49) set more number of fruits (21.89). On the other hand, higher
photosynthetic rate was recorded in Open-trough system as compared to
Verti-Gro system, consequently increased the number of fruits. Al-Raisy et
al. (2010) reported that highest number of strawberry fruits (60.90) was
produced on 6 pots per column in Verti-Gro system as compared to 7 pots
per column (56.00) and 8 pots per column (50.80). They attributed these
results to higher photosynthetic net assimilation rate in smaller column (6
pots/column). But the results obtained in this study is in contrary with
report of Villiers (2008) that, while strawberry cv. Chandler grown in A-
shape system produced slightly more (20.09) fruit per plant as compared
to Verti-Gro system (18.88) but these differences were not significant.
The highest fruit weight (281.83 g) was produced in Open-trough
system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (209.92 g) and significantly lower
(145.41 g) in Verti-Gro system. The larger container volume of Open-
trough system as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag and Verti-Gro systems might
be responsible of increased fruit weight. Lower light irradiance in lower
tier of Verti-Gro system might be the reason behind the fruit weight
reduction. Cantliffe et al. (2007) reported that, larger container volume of
polyethylene bags (18 L) as compared to plygal trough (12 L) increased the
number of leaves and subsequently photosynthetic rate and hence higher
fruit weight in strawberry. Al-Raisy et al. (2010) reported that, in
strawberry cv. Camarosa fruit weight decreased from (132.24 g) to
(118.32 g) and (107.00g) when the column size of Verti-Gro system
increased from 6 pots per column to 7 and 8 pots per column respectively.

Significantly higher marketable fruits (78.33 %) were produced in


Open-trough as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag (61.91 %) and Verti-Gro (60.93
%) systems, but results in Lay-Flat-Bag and Verti-Gro systems were
statistically on par with each other. This difference might be attributed to
higher bed volume of Open-trough system as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag
system which might subsequently increased the water and nutrient
absorption by plants. Awad et al. (2010) reported that, due to adequate
level of nitrogen absorbed by strawberry plants, the vegetative growth
increased hence the photosynthesis rate which consequently resulted in
enhanced marketable fruits. Apart from low photosynthetic rate which
was recorded in Verti-Gro system, other factor for reduction in per cent
marketable fruit can be attributed to low light level which causes stamen
sterility and poor pollen quality hence reduction in fertilization rate that
might contribute to malformed fruit production (Smeets, 1980). Similar
findings reported by Villiers (2008) that, malformation of strawberry cv.
Sweet Charlie increased by increase in shading percentage from 0 to 50.
Fruit length and diameter markedly influenced by growing systems.
Fruits produced in Open-trough system showed highest length (33.66
mm) followed by Lay-Flat-Bag system (30.75 mm) and lowest (28.22 mm)
in Verti-Gro system. Similarly with respect to fruit diameter, highest
(27.75 mm) was recorded in Open-trough system followed by Lay-Flat-Bag
system (26.16 mm) and lowest (24.93 mm) in Verti-Gro system. These
results might be attributed to higher photosynthetic rate in Open-trough
and Lay-Flat-Bag systems as compared to Verti-Gro system, which
subsequently enhanced vegetative growth of plants and hence fruit size.
These results were consistent with a report by Villiers (2008) which say,
fruit size of strawberry cv. Chandler produced in A-shape system was
higher (13.37 g) as compared to Verti-Gro system (12.73 g), this difference
was attributed to higher photosynthesis rate recorded in A-shape system
as compared to Verti-Gro system.

The highest fruit weight (13.30 g) was obtained from Open-trough


system and was statistically on par with Lay-Flat-Bag system (11.52) and
lowest (10.17 g) from Verti-Gro system. This difference might be due to
higher photosynthetic rate was recorded in Open-trough and Lay-Flat-Bag
systems as compared to Verti-Gro system. Similar results were reported
by Villiers (2008) that fruit weight of strawberry cv. Chandler produced in
A-shape system was higher (13.37 g) as compared to Verti-Gro system
(12.73 g), this difference was attributed to lower photosynthesis rate
recorded in A-shape system as compared to Verti-Gro system.

In strawberry the total soluble solids is one of the reliable indicators


of strawberry eating quality and photosynthesis net assimilation rate is
also one of the important factors in its production. In this study, higher
TSS (10.61 B) was recorded in frui ts produced in Lay-Flat-Bag system
which was on par with Open-trough system (10.46 B) and was significant
over Verti-Gro system (9.68 B). This difference might be attributed to
higher photosynthetic rate that was recorded in first two systems as
compared to Verti-Gro system. According to Miura et al. (1993), shaded
strawberry fruits had lower levels of fructose, glucose and sucrose as
compared to unshaded fruits. Similar results were reported by Villiers
(2008) that, highest TSS (8.70 B) was observed in strawberry cv.
Chandler fruits produced in A-shape system as compared to Verti-Gro
system (8.28 B) due to higher light intensity recorded in A-shape
system. Vasilakakis et al. (2005) reported that, there was tendency to
varied increase (5-8 %) of berry TSS% along with the increase of light
intensity.

Significantly lower titratable acidity (0.80 %) was recorded from


fruits were produced in Lay-Flat-Bag system which was on par with Open-
trough (0.83 %) system and highest (0.92 %) in Verti-Gro system. This
result might be attributed to higher fruit load of plants grown in Open-
trough system as compared to Verti-Gro system. Vasilakakis et al. (2005)
reported that, titratable acidity of strawberry fruits was varied between
(0.8 %) and (1.8 %) as affected negatively by the plant fruit load.

5.2.1.3 Gas exchange parameters and photosynthaticaly active


radiation

At 110 DATP photosynthetic rate was highest (4.29 mol/m 2/s) in


plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system and was on par with Open trough
system (4.13 mol/m2/s), while the lowest (1.86 mol/m 2/s) was
recorded in Verti-Gro system. At 120 DATP highest photosynthetic rate
(4.08 mol/m2/s) was recorded in Open-trough system which was on par
with Lay-Flat-Bag system (3.32 mol/m2/s) and lowest (1.50 mol/m2/s)
was recorded in Verti-Gro system. These results might be attributed to
quantitatively equal light incidence on leaf surface was recorded in Open-
trough and Lay-Flat-Bag systems and lowest in Verti-Gro system. This
low light intensity was the result of shading affect of the upper tier on
lower section of the Verti-Gro system (Durner, 1999) as a result the
photosynthetic rate reduced. Similar observations were reported by
Villiers (2008) who compared A-shape and vertical growing systems on
yield and fruit quality of cv. Chandler and Al-Raisy et al. (2010)
compared the size of column in vertical growing system on growth and
yield of cv. Camarosa. They observed that low light intensity in vertical
system or big size of column caused consequently lower photosynthesis
net assimilation rate as compared to A-shape system and/or small size
column.

The highest stomatal conductance of water (0.13 mmol/m 2/s) at


110 DATP was recorded in Open-trough system which was on par with
Lay-Flat-Bag systems (0.13 mmol/m2/s) and lowest (0.08 mmol/m2/s) in
Verti-Gro system. But, at 120 DATP the highest stomatal conductance of
water (0.12 mmol/m2/s) was observed in Lay-Flat-Bag system which was
on par with Open-trough system (0.11 mmol/m2/s) and Verti-Gro (0.10
mmol/m2/s) systems. These results might be attributed to uniform light
received by plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag and Open-trough systems as
compared to lower by plants of Verti-Gro system. As observed by Takeda
(2000), the irradiance reaching the plants at lower tier was only 10% of
tier measured at the top. As a result, the chlorophyll formations and
consequently physiological activates reduced.

At 110 DATP the highest transpiration rate (3.03 mmol/m2/s) was


observed in plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag system which was on par with
Open-trough system (3.01 mmol/m2/s) and lowest (2.68 mmol/m2/s) in
Verti-Gro system. At 120 DATP statistically on par results were recorded
with regard to transpiration rate in Lay-Flat-Bag system (3.08
mmol/m2/s), Open-trough system (3.05 mmol/m2/s) and Verti-Gro
system (2.76 mmol/m2/s) respectively. These results might be attributed
to uniform light distribution on Lay-Flat-Bag and Open-trough systems.
Less transpiration rate which was recorded in Verti-Gro system might be
due to less light received by lower tier. Similar results were reported by
Takeda (2000) in cv. Sweet Charlie and by Al-Raisy et al. (2010) in cv.
Camarosa that, Verti-Gro system caused environmental conditions in
the lower sections of the column to be sub optimal and this resulted
decline in physiological activity of plants.

At 110 DATP the highest light incidence on leaf surface (162


mol/m2/s) was recorded in Open-trough system and on par in Lay-Flat-
Bag system (161 mol/m2/s) and lowest (112 mol/m2/s) in Verti-Gro
system. Similarly at 120 DATP the highest light incidence on leaf surface
(159.33 mol/m2/s) was recorded in Lay-Flat-Bag system which was
statistically on par with Open-trough system (158.00 mol/m2/s), but
lowest (103.66 mol/m2/s) was recorded in Verti-Gro system. It is clear
that light intensity and distribution are limited factors with the use of
Verti-Gro system (Villiers, 2008) as vertical growing system caused lower
light than optimum in the lower tier (Takeda, 2000). These results might
be attributed to the uniform planting density in Open-trough and Lay-
Flat-Bag systems and their uniform elevation inside the greenhouse due
to which equal light intensity on leaf surface recorded. The shading effect
of upper tier in Verti-Gro system reduced the overall light incidence on
leaf surface in lower section. As reported by Paraskevopoulu et al. (2005),
higher light intensity was recorded on strawberry plants grown in pots
placed on flat surface as compared to plants grown in vertical grow bags.

5.2.2 Effect of different types of media on growth, yield and fruit


quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival in Lay-Flat-Bag
soilless system

Two media types employed were 60% coco-peat+40% perlite, v/v


(T1) and 50% paddy husk+30% coco-peat+20%perlite, v/v (T2) in Lay-
Flat-Bag system of soilless culture.
5.2.2.1 Growth parameters

At 20 DATP, the number of leaves per plant not affected by media


types. While, at the end of experiment the number of leaves produced in
T1 was significantly higher (37.16) as compared to T 2 (35.00). Reviewed
by Cantliffe et al. (2007) that, the strawberry early growth depend in part
on root carbohydrate reserves for up to one month after transplanting
(Nishizawa and Shishido, 1998), which the results obtained at 20 DATP
might be attributed to this fact. The results were obtained at the end of
experiment might be due to higher WHC, aeration and low tension water
potential of T1 as compared to T2. Cantliffe et al. (2007) reported that, the
higher number of leaves of strawberry produced in peat mix related to its
higher water holding capacity (42.9 %) and total porosity (71.6%) as
compared to pine bark with water holding capacity (16.9%) and total
porosity (63.3 %) respectively.

At 20 DATP, petiole length did not differ significantly between


treatments. While, at the end of experiment significantly longer petiole
(10.20 mm) was recorded in T1 as compared to T2 (9.02 mm). The
strawberry early growth depend in part on root carbohydrate reserves for
up to one month after transplanting (Nishizawa and Shishido, 1998),
which the results obtained at 20 DATP could be attributed to this fact.
The results obtained at the end of experiment might be due to higher
WHC, aeration and low tension water potential of T 1 which helps in
adequate nutrients uptake. Awad et al. (2010) reported that, since
potassium play role in functions of enzymes need for the vital processes
and growth of plant as well as nitrogen is a primary component of all
nucleic acids, protein and chlorophyll, hence increase in potassium and
nitrogen increased the vegetative growth of strawberry plants. Since air
and water cannot flow freely through highly impermeable barrier of pile
of paddy hulls in T2, the vegetative growth of plant reduced. These
results are in general agreement with those reported by Ercisli et al.
(2005) that, the best medium in terms of higher moisture retained
capacity at lower tensions (<0.33%) was fine peat (57.1%) which was
followed by peat+perlite (57.0 %) and perlite (53.7%) and amount of poor
size distribution (>100em) providing aeration and drainage was the
highest in fine peat (50.9 %) followed by peat (44.6 %). So, higher
development of above ground parts of plant obtained from peat, fine peat,
and fine peat + perlite media.

Plants grown in T1 produced significantly higher leaf area (2199.82


cm2) as compared to T2 (2045.38 cm2). These results might be attributed
to the higher WHC, aeration and low tension water potential of T1 which
might help in higher growth of plants as compared to T 2. Ercisli et al.
(2005) reported that higher leaf area (130.9 cm 2) was recorded in cv.
Camarosa grown in peat medium with pore size of 44.6% as compared
to perlite (100 cm2) with pore size of 40.8 %.

Media types had significant effect on plant crown diameter. The


plants grown in T1 produced significantly larger crown (30.50 mm) as
compared to T2 (27.50 mm). These results might be attributed to higher
WHC and total porosity of T1 as compared to T2. These results are in
agreement with those reported by Cantliffe et al. (2007) that, the larger
crown diameter of strawberry plants grown in peat mix was due to its
higher water holding capacity (42.9 %) and total porosity (71.6 %) as
compared to pine bark with WHC (16.9 %) and total porosity (63.3 %)
respectively.

Shoot and root fresh weight was significantly influenced by media


types. Plants grown in T1 produced higher shoot fresh weight (56.35 g) as
compared to T2 (51.16 g). Similarly, root fresh weight of plants grown in
T1 was higher (15.18 g) as compared to T2 (13.58 g). These results might
be attributed to higher moisture retained capacity of T 1 as compared to
T2 which increased the plant water level. These results supported by
report of Ercisli et al. (2005) that, higher final fresh plant weight (169.64
g) was observed in peat with 44.6 % moisture retention as compared to
perlite (157.49 g) with 40.8 % moisture retention and forest soil (148.0 g)
with (21.5 %) moisture retention. This bitter condition of T1 as compared
to T2 could increase nutrients uptake by plants, consequently increased
the vegetative growth. These results were in agreement with those are
reported by Awad et al. (2010) that since potassium play a vital role in
function of enzyme needed for the growth processes of plant as well as
nitrogen is a primary component of all nucleic acids, protein and
chlorophyll, hence increase in potassium and nitrogen increased the
vegetative growth of strawberry.

The shoot and root dry weight influenced by media types. The
plants grown in T1 produced significantly higher shoot dry weight (18.02
g) as compared to T2 (15.30 g). Similarly higher root dry weight (4.51 g)
was obtained from T1 as compared to T2 (2.92 g). These results might be
due to higher vegetative growth recorded in T1 as compared to T2 which
might contribute to increase of dry weight. Al-Raisy et al. (2010) reported
that, in cv. Camarosa higher shoot fresh weight (173.96 g) produced
higher dry weight (53.60 g) and lower shoot fresh weight (68.23 g)
produced lower dry weight (17.11 g). Similarly higher root fresh weight
(27.95 g) produced higher dry weight (8.72 g) and lower root fresh weight
(10.94 g) produced lower root dry weight (4.84 g).

5.2.2.2 Yield and fruit quality parameters

Plants grown in T1 were required less number of days (42.66 days)


to attain flowering as compared to in T2 (43.08 days), but this difference
was not significant. In strawberry light intensity and duration is a
primary environmental factor that controlling the transition from
vegetative to reproductive growth and on the other hand flowering in
short day cultivars is temperature and cultivar dependant (Kirschbaum,
1998) which the results obtained in this study could be attributed to this
fact.

Significantly higher number of flowers (33.58) recorded on plants


grown in T1 as compared to T2 (27.50). These results might be attributed
to higher WHC and pore size coupled with higher water retention of T 1 as
compared to T2 which might help in higher nutrient uptake. Awad et al.
(2010) reported that, since potassium play a vital role in function of
enzyme needed for the growth processes of plant as well as nitrogen is a
primary component of all nucleic acids, protein and chlorophyll, increase
in potassium and nitrogen increased the vegetative and reproductive
growth of strawberry plant. These results are in general agreement as
reported by Awad et al. (2010) that increase in mineral N 2 and K+
increased number of clusters of strawberry plant. The reason behind
reduction in number of flowers in T2 might be attributed to phytotoxic
(Dorais et al., 2007) and allopathic (Asghari et al., 2006) extracts present
in paddy husk which suppress total vigour of plant. Cited by Konopinska
(2010) that reason for poorer yield of strawberry grown in peat + paddy
husk was most probably worst supply of plants with nitrogen caused by
the biological sorption of this nutrient (Markiewicz et al., 2008).

The analysis of data revealed that, significantly higher total fruit


weight (209.92 g) was obtained from plants grown in T1 as compared to
T2 (171.30 g). These results could be due to the fact that number of
flowers, fruits and fruit weight are related to each other (Jafarnia et al.,
2010) and increase in number of flowers increased number of fruits and
total fruit weight (Garate et al., 1991). On the other hand, larger crown
diameter recorded in T1 which might help in higher fruit weight
production. Cited by Jafarnia et al. (2010) that, in strawberry number of
flowers, fruit and fruit weight are related to the diameter of crown which
can be used to predict plant yield potential (Hancock, 1999).
There was significant influence of media types on total number of
fruits observed. Higher number of fruits (18.16) was produced in T1 as
compared to T2 (15.91). These results might be due to the fact that
number of flowers and fruits are related to each other (Jafarnia et al.,
2010) and increase in number of flowers increased number of fruits
(Garate et al., 1991). Reported by Hancock, (1999) that, number of
flowers and fruit were related to the diameter of crown, plants with larger
crowns produced higher flowers and fruits. The results obtained in this
study are in agreement with reported by Tehranifar et al. (2007) that, the
yield of strawberry in substrates with peat+ perlite or coco-peat + perlite
was higher than in substrates without peat or coco-peat.

Higher percentage of marketable fruits (61.91%) was obtained from


plants grown in T1 and was significant over T2 (52.08 %). Substrate of
mixed perlite and peat or coco-peat was useful for strawberry which
needs high amount of Copper to produce good quality of strawberry
(Lieten and Roeber, 1997). Further these results might be attributed to
higher WHC, and aeration of T1 as a result enhanced nutrient uptakes by
plants grown in this medium. This result was in agreement with reported
by Cantliffe et al. (2007) that higher percentage of marketable fruits per
plant (70.6 %) was recorded in peat mix with WHC of 42.9% and total
porosity of 71.6% as compared to (61.6 %) in pine bark with 16.9 % WHC
and 63.3 % total porosity.

Fruits obtained from plants grown in T1 recorded significantly


higher length (30.75 mm) as compared to T2 (28.16 mm). Similarly,
higher fruit diameter (26.16 mm) was recorded in T 1 as compared to T2
(24.91 mm). These results might be due to higher leaf area and number
of leaves was recorded in T1 as compared to T2 which might enhance
photosynthetic net assimilation rate and hence total size of fruits. These
results are in agreement with those reported by Villiers (2008) that fruit
size of strawberry cv. Chandler increased with increase in photosynthesis
net assimilating rate. According to Morgan (2006), in first 7 days of fruit
growth the 75 per cent of the carbohydrates mobilize from crown and root
of the plant hence larger crown and root increased the size of fruits.

Fruits obtained from plants grown in T1 recorded higher weight


(11.52 g) which was on par with T2 (10.73 g). Similar results reported by
Al-Raisy et al. (2010) in cv. Cameras that media composition did not
affect positively or negatively the fruit weight. The media types did not
affect fruit weight of strawberry cv. Elsanta (MacNaeid, 1997).

Higher TSS content (10.61B) was observed in fruits that obtained


from plants grown in T1 and on par from T2 (10.35 B). Similar results
were reported by Al-Raisy et al. (2010) that, even though the TSS
percentage of strawberry cv. Camaros produced in different types of
media, ranged from 8.57 to 8.97 but this variation was non-significant.
They concluded that, media types did not affect TSS of strawberry fruits.

On par results, with regard to titratable acidity of fruits obtained in


T1 (0.86 %) and T2 (0.85%). Ghazvini et al. (2007) reported that media
with higher EC such as zeolite which absorb N and K and release Ca and
Na increased titratable acidity of fruits. Reviewed by Ghazvini et al.
(2007), in hydroponics tomato low titratable acidity was recorded in
perlite medium and it was higher in zeiolite medium (Honcock, 1999).
Since in the present study both media were mixture of organic and inert
perlite, so there would not be different in EC hence the titratable acidity
remained same. Spayed and Morris (1981) studied the media effect on
yield and fruit quality of strawberry cv. Fern reported that, titratable
acidify ranged from 0.31 to 0.36 but was not affected by media types.
5.2.3 Influence of tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless culture
system on growth, yield and fruit quality of strawberry cv.
Strawberry Festival.

Four treatments (position of four tiers in Verti-Gro soilless culture


system) were compared on growth, yield and fruit quality of strawberry
cv. Strawberry Festival.

5.2.3.1 Growth parameters

The data recorded at 20 DATP revealed that, no significant effect of


tier position on number of leaves was observed. However, at the end of
experiment significantly higher number of leaves (39.00) was observed in
first tier and lowest (32.16) in fourth tier. The strawberry early growth
depend in part on root carbohydrate reserves for up to one month after
transplanting (Nishizawa and Shishido, 1998) which the results obtained
at 20 DATP might be attributed to this fact. However, results obtained at
the end of experiment might be due to higher photosynthetic rate
recorded in upper tier which might increase the vegetative growth and
number of leaves. As reported by Takeda (2000), the reason for decreased
vegetative growth of strawberry plants in lower sections of Verti-Gro
system was suboptimal light (62 mol/m2/s) reached to the lower plants
as compared to the top (721 mol/m2/s) at 10:00 am. Similar results
also reported by Stavrakas and Drogoudi (1996) that, low photosynthetic
rate reduced the growth of strawberry plant and they opined that
strawberry uses light more efficiently than other crops. Therefore, any
growing technique that will improve light intensity or distribution among
plants will improve plant growth and production.

At 20 DATP, petiole length was not affected by tier position in the


Verti-Gro system. While at the end of experiment, significantly longer leaf
petiole (13.75 cm) was observed in fourth tier and smallest (11.03 cm) in
first tier. The strawberry early growth depend in part on root
carbohydrate reserves for up to one month after transplanting (Nishizawa
and Shishido, 1998) which the results obtained at 20 DATP might be
attributed to this fact. With regards of the results obtained at the end of
experiment, the difference in photosynthetic rate among tier might be
responsible. Awang and Atherton (1995) reported that low light intensity,
resulted longer petiole formation in strawberry.

Maximum leaf area (2002.64 cm2) was obtained from plants grown
in first tier and minimum (1614.08 cm 2) was recorded in fourth tier. High
irradiance is necessary to increase leaf area of strawberry (Ceulemans et
al., 1996) which the results obtained in this study might be attributed to
this fact. On the other hand, nutrient solution is supplied at the top of
the column, and the solution passes through substrates of upper tier
and fall on lower plants canopy and media. The composition of nutrient
solution can be salty and rich in humic acids (Jones, 1997). This was
observed in present study too, and might be a factor in reduction of plant
growth at lower tier (more studies requited). And also these results might
be due to higher number of leaves per plant recorded in first tier which
might contribute in higher leaf area per plant. As observed by Jagadeesh
(2001) the higher number of leaves (63.73) in strawberry directly
contributed in production of higher leaf area (3541.69 cm 2) and lower
number of leaves (53.57) showed lower leaf area (2963.90 cm 2).

Plant crown diameter was significantly affected by tier position.


The highest plant crown diameter (31.00 mm) was recorded in first tier
and lowest (25.83 mm) in fourth tier. Takeda (2000) observed that lower
light was responsible in production of smaller strawberry crown at the
lower section of Verti-Gro system. While, highest strawberry yield and
quality of fruits was due to increased crown size and leaf area (Jafarnia
et al., 2010). The results was obtained in this study is in agreement with
report of Al-Raisy et al. (2010) that, the vegetative growth of strawberry
cv. Camarosa at larger column size (8 pots/column) was lower as
compared to small column size (6 pots/column).

Highest shoot fresh weight (55.34 g) was recorded from plants


grown in first tier and lowest (46.05 g) from fourth tier. Similarly, highest
root fresh weight (15.41 g) was obtained from first tier and lowest (12.69
g) from fourth tier. These results might be due to higher photosynthetic
rate observed in first tier which might contribute in production of higher
fresh weight. The results obtained in this study was in general agreement
with those reported by Al-Raisy et al. (2010) that, cv. Camarosa grown
in system smaller column size (6 pots/column) of Verti-Gro system
produced higher shoot fresh weight (173.96 g) as compared to (68.23 g)
in big column size (8 pots/column), which the lower light penetration in
lower section of the Verti-Gro system was responsible for this result.

The significantly higher shoot dry weight (17.27 g) was obtained


from first tier and lowest (13.12 g) from fourth tier. Similarly, highest
root dry weight (4.41 g) was obtained from first tier and lowest (3.28 g)
from fourth tier. These results might be due to the fact that, higher shoot
and root fresh weight recorded in first tier which might contribute in
production of higher shoot and root dry weight. As observed by Ercisli et
al. (2005) that in strawberry higher root fresh weight (25.90 g) produced
higher root dry weight (8.28 g) as compared to lower root fresh weight
(11.46 g) produced lower root dry weight (5.51 g) in cv. Fern. Similarly
Al-Raisy et al. (2010) reported that, in cv. Camarosa higher shoot fresh
weight (173.96 g) produced higher shoot dry weight (27.95 g) and lower
shoot fresh weight (68.23 g) produced lower shoot dry weight (10.94 g).

5.2.3.3 Yield and quality parameters

The flower initiation was significantly influenced by tier position.


The least number of days (56.75) were required for plants of first tier to
produce flowers and highest number of days (65.41) was required for
plants of fourth tier. Ceulemans et al. (1986) reported that when light
from high-intensity discharge mercury lamps with an intensity of (300
mol/m2/s) was added to the natural winter light, a gain in earliness
(10-15 days) of flowering was achieved. The results obtained in this study
were in agreement with report of Takeda (2000) that, the flower initiation
in plants grown on top of the Verti-Gro column was 17 days earlier than
middle tier and 37 days earlier than bottom tire in cv. Chandler.

Tier position was significantly affected the total number of flowers


per plant. The highest number of flowers (29.16) was produced in first
tier and lowest (20.91) in fourth tier. Under high light intensity (650
mol/m2/s) which was provided artificially, the wild strawberry (Fragaria
vesca L.) produced significantly more number of flowers than at lower
light intensities (22 or 150 mol/m 2/s) (Chabot, 1978). In present study,
shading effect of upper tier on lower tier might be responsible in
reduction of number of flowers (Chabot, 1978). Dennis et al. (1970)
reported that in strawberry an intensity of (430 mol/m 2/s)
fluorescent+incandescent light almost doubled the number of flowers
stalk per plant compared to (220 mol/m 2/s) in cv. Geneva.

The total number of fruits was significantly influenced by tier


position. Maximum number of fruits (18.50) was obtained from first tier
and minimum (12.83) in fourth tier. These results clearly revealed the
effect of light on number of fruits per plant. Takeda (2000) reported that
as a result of low light received by strawberry plants grown in middle and
bottom tier, many plants did not develop an optimal branch crowns and
subsequently produced less fruits as compared to plants in the top tier.
The results found in this study is in general agreement with reported by
Al-Raisy et al. (2010) that number of fruits of strawberry was higher
(60.90) in small size column (6 pots/column) in Verti-Gro system as
compared to lower (50.80) in big size column (8 pots/column). It was due
to higher light intensity received by plants of small size column as
compared to big size column.

Plants grown in first tier produced significantly higher fruit weight


(11.47 g) and lowest (8.02 g) was obtained from fourth tier. These results
could be attributed to higher photosynthetic rate recorded in first tier
and lowest in fourth tier which could increase the fruit weight. Similar
results were reported by Villiers (2008) that, strawberry cv. Chandler
received higher light intensity produced larger fruits (13.37 g) as compared
to low light intensity (12.73 g). Cited by Villiers (2008), in strawberry
small fruit size is common problem in low light conditions (Awang and
Atherton, 1995). But these results were in contrary with those reported by
Al-Raisy et al. (2010) that fruit weight was not affected by column size in
Verti-Gro system. Fruits produced in 6, 7 and 8 pots per column in Verti-
Gro system had similar weight. They concluded that different light
intensities received by plants did not affect fruit weight.

The data pertaining to total fruit weight per plant showed


significant differences among tier position. The highest fruit weight
(194.60 g) was produced on plants of first tier and lowest (101.64 g) on
plants of fourth tier. This can be attributed to the fact that, plants at the
first tier received higher light and hence higher photosynthetic net
assimilations rate as compared to plants of lower tier. Durner (1999)
reported that, a 40 g decrease in yield per plant of cv. Sweet Charlie was
observed with every 30 cm decrease in tier height in Verti-Gro system.
This was attributed to a higher shading effect on lower levels of the Verti-
Gro system. Villiers (2008) reported that, total fruit weight per plant of
strawberry cv. Chandler was higher (268.16 g) in A-shape system as
compared to Verti-Gro system (240.41 g). This result attributed to the
higher light intensity was recorded in A-shape system as compared to
Verti-Gro system.

The plants grown in first tier produced significantly higher


percentage of marketable fruits (63.33%) and lowest (49.08 %) was
observed in fourth tier. These results might be attributed to low light
level recorded in fourth tier which might cause misshapen fruit
formation. Low light levels shortly before or during flowering of
strawberry which causes stamen sterility and poor pollen quality, caused
malformed fruit production (Smeets, 1980). Villiers (2008) reported that,
fruits malformation of cv. Chandler increased when shading percentage
increased from 0 to 50 per cent.

The fruits produced on plants of first tier showed significantly


higher length (40.75 mm) and lowest (33.25 mm) was recorded from
fourth tier. Fruits with highest diameter (33.83 mm) obtained from first
tier and lowest (26.00 mm) from fourth tier. These results might be
attributed to higher photosynthetic net assimilation rate was recorded in
first tier which subsequently enhanced fruit size. These results were
consistent with the report of Villiers (2008) which say, strawberry fruit size
produced in A-shape growing system was higher (13.37 g) as compared to
Verti-Gro system (12.73 g). They attributed these results to higher
photosynthesis rate which was recorded in A-shape system as compared
to Verti-Gro system.

Highest TSS (10.51 B) was recorded in fruits produced in first tier


and lowest (8.44 B) was recorded in fruits produced in fourth tier. This
could be attributed to higher light intensity was recorded in first tier and
so also the higher leaf number which these two factors might contributed
in higher TSS in fruits were produced in first tier. Vasilakakis et al.
(2005) reported that, strawberry fruit TSS was ranged from 5 to 8 which
obtained from different sections of Verti-Gro system and there was a
tendency to increase along with the increase of light intensity. Carlen et
al. (2007) reported that, TSS content of strawberry fruits was strongly
related to the leaf:fruit ratio (cm 2/g) and that an increase in leaf:fruit
ratio increased the percentage soluble solids in fruits.

Lowest acidity (0.81 %) was recorded in fruits of plants grown in


first tier and highest (1.04 %) in fourth tier. This result might be
attributed to higher number of fruits produced by plants of first tire and
lowest by plants of fourth tier. Vasilakakis et al. (2005) reported that,
titratable acidity of fruits was varied from 0.8 to 1.8 per cent as affected
negatively by the plant fruit load. On the other hand nutrient solution
supplied in the upper tier passed through substrates and was falling on
lower plants canopy and media. The composition of this nutrient solution
can be salty (Jones, 1997) and might enhance EC in media of lower tier
and hence the titratable acidity of fruits. Ghazvini et al. (2007) reported
that, media with higher EC which absorb N and K and release Ca and Na
increased titratable acidity of fruits.

5.2.3.1 Gas exchange parameters and photosynthaticaly active


radiation

At 110 DATP maximum photosynthetic rate (4.46 mol/m 2/s) was


recorded in first tier and minimum (1.68mol/m2/s) in fourth tier.
Similarly, highest photosynthetic rate (3.75 mol/m 2/s) at 120 DATP was
recorded in first tier as compared to 3 lower tiers. These results might be
attributed to higher light incidence on leaf surface that was recorded in
first tier which markedly declined toward lower tier as least light
incidence on leaf surface was recorded in fourth tier. According to Ribeiro
et al. (2004), photosynthetic rate is directly proportional to light intensity;
an increase in light intensity caused a tendency of higher photosynthesis
net assimilating rate. Vasilakakis et al. (2005) conducted a study in
Greece to compare the effect of strawberry plant orientation on the
column of Verti-Gro system on plant productivity and quality of
strawberry. They found that, plant photosynthetic activity was
significantly lower in plants of the north directions, as a result of the
lower light intensity that was noticed.

At 110 DATP, transpiration rate was observed to be not affected by


tier position in the Verti-Gro system similarly at 120 DATP. The reason
for these results might be related to uniform temperature and humidity
inside of the greenhouse, at that time in which measurements recorded,
which maintained the transpiration rate. These results are in general
agreement with those reported by Kubota et al. (2003) in tomato that
while transpiration rate reduced inside of the greenhouse as compared to
open filed, but was remained same inside of the greenhouse at the time
of measurement taken. And according to Ribeiro et al. (2004), the
stomatal conductance and transpiration rate are interconnected; hence
higher temperature decreased stomatal conductance and consequently
transpiration rate.

At 110 DATP stomatal conductance of water was not affected by


tier position in the Verti-Gro system and similarly, at120 DATP. This
might be related to same temperature and humidity distribution inside of
the greenhouse, at that time in which measurements recorded, which
maintained the micro-climate of plant canopy hence, stomatal
conductance of water. As observed by Ribeiro et al. (2004) that air
temperature and/or humidity are correlated with stomatal conductance.

Highest light incidence on leaf surface (148.00 mol/m 2/s) at110


DATP was recorded in first tier and lowest (76.66 mol/m2/s) in fourth
tier. Similarly, at 120 DATP highest (146.66 mol/m 2/s) light incidence
on leaf surface was recorded in first tier and lowest (74.66 mol/m 2/s) in
fourth tier. The main problem of a Verti-Gro system is suboptimal light
irradiance reaches in lower tier due to shading effect of upper tier
(Takeda, 2000) hence, light intensity and distribution are the limiting
factors with the use of Verti-Gro system (Villiers, 2008) which the results
obtained in this study might be attributed to this fact. Takeda (2000)
observed that, irradiance reached the plants at the bottom of the column
was only 10 % (<100 mol/m2/s) of levels measured at the top of Verti-
Gro system. The results obtained in this study is in general agreement
with those reported by Villiers (2008) that low light incidence on leaf
surface of strawberry plants was recorded in Verti-Gro system (200
mol/m2/s) as compared to A-shape system (300 mol/m2/s), this
comparatively reduction caused by shading effect of upper tier on tire at
the lower sections.
SUMMARY
VI. SUMMARY

The investigation on Plug production and evaluation of different


soilless systems and substrates for cultivation of strawberry (Fragaria
ananassa Duch.), cv. Strawberry Festival was carried out in a passively
ventilated greenhouse at the Division of Fruit Crops, Indian Institute of
Horticultural Research (IIHR) Bangalore, India during 2010-11.
Significant findings of these studies are summarized hereunder.

6.1 PLUG PRODUCTION STUDIES

6.1.1 Effect of explant types on growth of plugs

The results of the present investigation revealed that, the explant


types did not have significant effect on most of plug biomass attributes.
However, highest number of roots per plug (12.20) was achieved when
the plugs produced from first order node as compared to second order
node and runner tip. At the end of plug production cycle, highest per
cent establishment (89) was recorded in plugs produced from first order
node followed by runner tip (81 %) and lowest (71 %) from second order
node.

6.1.2 Effect of media types on growth of plugs

Most of biometric attributes and per cent establishment of plug


were markedly affected by media types. Longer roots (15.40 mm), higher
number of roots (12.33) and leaves (5.48) were obtained when plugs
produced on coco peat + perlite (1:1, v/v). Similarly, larger plug crown
diameter (7.32 mm), higher plug establishment (87%), higher shoot fresh
weight (13.26 g) and root fresh weight (7.30 g), and higher shoot dry
weight (4.20 g) and root dry weight (2.93 g) were obtained from plugs
raised on the same media.
6.2 SOILLESS CULTURE STUDIES

6.2.1 Effect of different soilless culture systems on growth, yield


and fruit quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival

The Open-trough system gave best results with regard to growth


parameters as compared to Lay-Flat-Bag systems and/or Verti-Gro
system. At 20 DATP, highest number of leaves (8.75) and petiole length
(12.20 mm) was produced in Open-trough system and same trend was
observed at the end of the experiment. Maximum leaf area (2478.66 cm2),
largest crown diameter (33.75 mm), highest shoot fresh weight (60.97 g),
root fresh weight (16.50g) , highest shoot dry weight (21.10 g) and root
dry weight (5.74 g) was observed in Open-trough system grown plants as
compared to Lay-Flat-Bag and Verti-Gro systems.

With regard to yield and fruit quality parameters, noticeable effect


of soilless culture systems was observed. The earliness in flowering was
achieved when plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag (43 days) as compared to
Open-trough (48 days) and Verti-Gro (59 days) systems. Whereas, highest
number of flowers (37.00) and fruits (22.66), highest fruit weight (13.30 g)
and total fruit weight per plant (281.83 g) was obtained when plants grown
in Open-trough system. Similarly, fruits produced in Open-trough system
recorded highest length (33.66 mm) and diameter (27.75 mm) as well as
marketability (78.33 %). Highest TSS (10.61 B) was recorded in fruits
produced in Lay-Flat-Bag system and Open-trough system (10.46 B).
Lowest titratable acidity (0.80 %) was achieved when plants grown in Lay-
Flat-Bag and Open-trough (0.83 %) systems.

The present study indicated that the Open-trough and Lay-Flat-


Bag systems gave best results with respect to photosynthesis rate as
compared to Verti-Gro system. The highest light incidence on leaf surface
was recorded in Open-trough (162 mol/m2/s) and Lay-Flat-Bag (161
mol/m2/s) systems and lowest (112 mol/m 2/s) in Verti-Gro system at
110 DATP. The highest transpiration rate was observed in Lay-Flat-Bag
(3.03 mmol/m2/s) and Open trough (3.01 mmol/m2/s) system grown
plants.

Stomatal conductance was also recorded highest (0.13


mmol/m2/s) in Open-trough and Lay-Flat-Bag (0.13 mmol/m2/s)
systems as compared to Verti-Gro system (0.08 mmol/m2/s) at 110
DATP. Photosynthetic rate was highest (4.29 mol/m 2/s) at 110 DATP in
plants grown in Lay-Flat-Bag and Open trough system (4.13 mol/m 2/s)
system and lowest (1.86 mol/m2/s) in Verti-Gro system. At 120 DATP
highest photosynthetic rate (4.08 mol/m 2/s) was recorded in Open-
trough and Lay-Flat-Bag (3.32 mol/m2/s) systems and lowest (1.50
mol/m2/s) in Verti-Gro system.

6.2.2 Effect of different types of media on growth, yield and fruit


quality of strawberry cv. Strawberry Festival in Lay-Flat-Bag
soilless system

At 20 DATP the number of leaves and length of the most developed


petiole not affected by media types. While, at the end of experiment
highest number of leaves (37.16) and longer petiole (10.20 mm) was
observed when plants grown on 60% coco peat +40% perlite (v/v) as
compared to 50% paddy husk +30% coco peat +20% perlite (v/v).
Similarly, higher leaf area (2199.82 cm2), larger crown diameter (30.50
mm), higher shoot fresh weight (56.35 g) and root fresh weight (15.18 g)
as well as higher shoot dry weight (18.02 g) and root dry weight (4.51 g)
were observed in plants grown in 60% coco peat +40% perlite (v/v) as
compared to 50% paddy husk +30% coco peat +20% perlite (v/v).

In regard to yield and fruit quality, it was generally higher when


plants grown on 60% coco peat +40%pelite (v/v) as compared to 50%
paddy husk +30% coco peat +20% perlite (v/v). However the flower
initiation did not affect by media types but higher number of flowers
(33.58), total fruit weight per plant (209.92 g), higher number of fruits
(18.16), higher percentage of marketable fruits (61.91%), and higher
length (30.75 mm) and diameter (26.16 mm) of fruits observed on 60%
coco peat +40%pelite (v/v) as compared to 50% paddy husk +30% coco
peat +20% perlite (v/v). With respect to fruit weight, TSS and titratable
acidity, no significant effect of media types was observed.

6.2.3 Influence of tier position in the Verti-Gro soilless culture


system on growth, yield and fruit quality of strawberry cv.
Strawberry Festival.

In case of growth parameters, the best results obtained from first


tier in Verti-Gro system as compared to lower tiers. At 20 DATP the
number of leaves per plant and length of the most developed petiole did
not affect by tier position. While, at the end of experiment highest
number of leaves (39.00) was observed in first tier but the leaf petiole
was highest (13.75 cm) in fourth tire. Maximum leaf area (2002.64 cm 2),
highest plant crown diameter (31.00 mm), shoot fresh weight (55.34 g),
root fresh weight (15.41 g) as well as highest shoot dry weight (17.27 g)
and root dry weight (4.41 g) was recorded in plants grown in first tier as
compared to lower tiers.

Yield and fruit quality parameters markedly affected by tier


position in the Verti-Gro system. Plants grown in first tier required least
number of days (56.75) to initiate flowering and number of days
increased by tier position. Maximum number of flowers (29.16) and fruits
(18.50), fruit weight (11.47 g) and fruit weight per plant (194.60 g) was
obtained in first tier as compared to lower tiers. Plants grown in first tier
produced highest percentage of marketable fruits (63.33). Length (40.75
mm) and diameter (33.83 mm) of fruits was also recorded highest in first
tier. Highest TSS (10.51 B) and lowest acidity (0.81 %) was also recorded
in fruits produced in first tier.

With regard to photosynthesis and related parameters, the study


revealed that first tier gave best results as compared to lower tier.
Significantly higher light incidence on leaf surface at 110 DATP (148.00
Mol/m2/s) and 120 DATP (146.66 Mol/m2/s) was recorded in first tier
and lowest in fourth tier. Maximum photosynthetic rate at 110 DATP
(4.46 Mol/m2/s) and at 120 DATP (3.75 Mol/m2/s) was recorded in
first tier as compared to 3 lower tiers. However, stomatal conductance of
water and transpiration rate did not affect by tier position in the Verti-
Gro system.

6.3 Future lines of work

In the present study, all explants irrespective of orders on the


runner showed good performance and did not differ from runners tip on
most of growth parameters. Hence there is a good scope for increasing
the propagules of strawberry using all available explant types. Further,
the best result with respect to plug production obtained from 50% coco
peat+50% perlite mixture. Hence, other proportions of this mixture may
be tried considering the cost effective measures.

In soilless culture studies, the best results obtained from Open-


trough system which contained more substrates as compared to Lay-
Flat-Bag system, more detailed studies are needed to find out most
suitable substrate volume for soilless strawberry production.

For maximum utilization of growing site, the Verti-Gro system


found to be the best option for commercial production as well as home
gardening. But limited light intensity and consequently lowest
photosynthetic rate in lower tier caused markedly decrease in growth,
yield and fruit quality of strawberry. Hence, some modification such as
A-shape or V-shape designs may be tried. Further, the effect of nutrient
solution which passed from media of upper tier and rained on lowers
possibly was one of the factors reduced plant vigour of lower tier, more
studies are required in this direction.

The best soilless media was mixture of 60 % coco peat+40 %perlite


(v/v), other proportion of this media may be tried considering the cost
factor.

It is possible that heat accumulation in black polyethylene bags


affected plant growth and development. So, detailed studies are needed
to find out the effect of media temperature on plant growth.

The environmental condition of passively ventilated greenhouse is


not suitable for cv. Strawberry Festival performances under Bangalore
conditions. It was due partly to soaring temperature recorded during
crop growth and poor pollination of flowers; therefore soilless strawberry
production may be tried in open field or under shade net.
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APPENDICES
APPENDIX-I: Mean weekly temperature recorded during experimental period
APPENDIX-II: Nutrients analysis of leaf and petiole

Leaf nutrients analysis


Effect of growing systems
N (%) P ( %) K ( %) Ca ( % ) Mg ( % ) S (%) Fe (ppm) Mn (ppm) Zn (ppm) Cu (ppm)
Open-trough 1.68 0.33 3.00 0.97 0.51 0.03 105.00 65.00 38.00 76.00
Lay-Flat-Bag 1.38 0.30 2.80 1.13 0.45 0.07 458.00 63.00 58.00 90.00
Verti-Gro 1.30 0.36 2.95 1.25 0.54 0.06 243.75 94.75 37.50 67.75
Effect of tiers position in the Verti-Gro system
Tier 1 0.91 0.33 2.80 1.23 0.53 0.06 123.00 59.00 53.00 54.00
Tier 2 1.19 0.36 2.40 1.00 0.50 0.07 206.00 110.00 44.00 69.00
Tier 3 1.47 0.35 2.30 0.65 0.39 0.05 275.00 91.00 24.00 124.00
Tier 4 1.61 0.39 4.30 2.10 0.73 0.05 371.00 119.00 29.00 24.00
Effect of growing media
media-1 1.08 0.30 2.80 1.17 0.85 0.07 458.00 63.00 58.00 90.00
media-2 0.95 0.30 2.30 1.24 0.56 0.05 288.00 141.00 56.00 76.00
Petiole nutrients analysis
Effect of growing systems
Open-trough 1.89 0.40 1.50 2.45 0.67 0.13 219.00 333.00 71.00 38.00
Lay-Flat-Bag 2.28 0.34 1.70 1.45 0.52 0.15 333.00 193.00 133.00 66.00
Verti-Gro 2.57 0.44 1.63 1.86 0.62 0.13 408.75 307.25 80.50 72.00
Effect of tiers position in the Verti-Gro system
Tier 1 2.73 0.40 1.70 1.63 0.68 0.12 331.00 180.00 55.00 60.00
Tier 2 2.87 0.44 1.40 1.08 0.51 0.15 258.00 304.00 94.00 38.00
Tier 3 2.48 0.43 1.60 3.26 0.60 0.14 660.00 379.00 84.00 124.00
Tier 4 2.21 0.49 1.80 1.47 0.69 0.12 386.00 366.00 89.00 66.00
Effect of growing media
media-1 2.28 0.34 1.70 1.45 0.52 0.15 333.00 193.00 133.00 66.00
media-2 1.19 0.35 1.30 1.67 0.60 0.11 286.00 501.00 63.00 93.00
APPENDIX III
Abbreviations of the terms used in the text
Abbreviation Expansion
cm Centimetre
Dia. Diameter
cv. Cultivar
Viz. Videlicet (Latin), namely
C Degree Celsius
e.g. Exempli gratia (for example)
et al. et alia (and others)
Fig. Figure
g Gram
h Hour
L Litre
mol micro molar
mg Milligram
mm Millimetre
m Molar
S second
mmol millie molar
% Per cent
i.e. That is
p Page
@ At the rate of
pp Pages
pH Potential Hydrogen (Hydrogen ion concentration)
ppm Parts per million
S. Em. Standard error of means
C.D. Critical difference
F. Test Frequency distribution under the null hypothesis
C.V. Coefficient of variation
m3 Cubic meter
m2 Meter square
v/ v Volume / Volume
kg Kilo gram
B Degree Brix