Active Management of Plant Canopy Temperature as a Tool for Modifying Plant Metabolic Activity


The relationship between a plant and its thermal environment is a major determiner of its growth and development. Since plants grow and develop within continuously variable thermal environments, they are subjected to continuous thermal variation over their life cycle. Transpiration serves to uncouple the temperature of the plant from that of its environment in a manner that reduces the occurrence of high temperature stresses that can limit plant performance. In some agriculturally important plants, there are desirable metabolic outcomes that are associated with specific stress events (e.g. wine grapes). In these plants it is often desirable to induce temperature and water stresses of known magnitude and duration at specific points in the growing season. In this study we used a computer-controlled irrigation system that used cotton canopy temperature to control irrigation in greenhouse-grown plants over a 10-day period. The system was designed to irrigate in a manner that altered the canopy temperature relative to specific temperature thresholds (28°C, 30°C, 32°C and 34°C). The results demonstrate that automated irrigation management based on canopy temperature is capable of altering the temporal pattern of canopy temperature in a desired manner using a feed-back loop. Potential limitations on this action are related to the range of air temperatures, radiation and humidity within the environment.

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Mahan, J. and Burke, J. (2015) Active Management of Plant Canopy Temperature as a Tool for Modifying Plant Metabolic Activity. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 249-259. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.61028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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