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Effects of root temperature on the food quality of horticultural crops

Fang He

Root temperature has long been considered as an important ecological factor that determines a variety of structural and functional characteristics in managed and natural ecosystems. However, beyond the fundamental knowledge that it regulates enzyme optima (biochemistry) and energetics of respiration and transport processes, how changes of root temperature regime influence food quality, including minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and antioxidants, are poorly understood.

Due to the increasing demand of fresh vegetables and fruits throughout the whole year, the growing period of greenhouse horticultural crops has been extended to ten months a year. To produce local vegetables out of season, heating in winter or cooling in summer are needed in the greenhouse to guarantee the normal growth and consistent quality. Compared to air temperature, controlling root temperature is more economical. Therefore, application of this study could be more energy efficient greenhouse production and increased food quality.