Effects of climatic control on tomato yield and nutritional quality in Mediterranean screenhouse




The quality of vegetables for fresh consumption is a complex issue. In this study the yield and quality of cherry tomato fruits were assessed under different environmental control conditions, namely in a screenhouse (S), in a screenhouse equipped with a fogging system (SF) and in a screenhouse with complements such as plastic sheeting to maintain the microclimate created by the fogging system (SFS), as well as under open field (OF) cultivation. Levels of vitamin C, carotenoids (lycopene, β-carotene and lutein), phenolic compounds (flavonoids and phenolic acids), sugars (fructose, glucose and sucrose), organic acids (citric acid and malic acid) and flavour indices were measured. The aim of the study was to determine how different environmental control technologies could influence production and quality traits in tomato cherry fruits cultivated in a Mediterranean area.


The results showed that the fogging system treatment's decline in maximum vapour pressure deficit (by 0.7 kPa compared with OF cultivation), increase in mean fruit weight (by about 4 g per fruit) and low radiation and temperature values may exert a positive effect on lycopene accumulation.


For the production and nutritional parameters measured, it is postulated that the fogging system treatment offers a better balance between production and nutritional quality. This treatment proved to be best in terms of productivity, vitamin C and lycopene contents and antioxidant capacity. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry