Prolonged exposure to atmospheric nitrogen dioxide increases fruit yield of tomato plants
Prolonged exposure of plants to a sufficient level of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO<sub>2</sub>) activates the uptake and metabolism of nutrients that fuel plant growth and development, a phenomenon termed the plant vitalization effect of NO<sub>2</sub>. This study examined the effect of NO<sub>2</sub> on the fruit yield of tomato (<i>Solanum lycopersicum</i> L. cv. Micro-Tom). Double exposure chambers, designated ±NO<sub>2</sub> chambers, were placed in a confined greenhouse. The air entering the −NO<sub>2</sub> chamber was scrubbed of nitrogen oxides including NO<sub>2</sub>, and the air entering the +NO<sub>2</sub> chamber was supplemented with NO<sub>2</sub> (50 ± 10 ppb). Two-week-old tomato seedlings that had been grown in the −NO<sub>2</sub> chamber after sowing were then grown in a +NO<sub>2</sub> or −NO<sub>2</sub> chamber for the remainder of the growth period until 96 days after sowing. Growth in the +NO<sub>2</sub> chamber led to a significant increase in fruit yield of approximately 40% as compared to growth in the −NO<sub>2</sub> chamber. This increase in fruit yield was accompanied by acceleration of flowering time by 3.2 days and an increase in flower number per plant of up to 60%. These results show that exposure to NO<sub>2</sub> increases fruit yield via stimulation of flowering in tomato.
- Plant biotechnology
Plant biotechnology 28(5), 485-487, 2011-12-25