Strawberries

Fragaria × ananassa, commonly known as the strawberry or garden strawberry, is a hybrid species that is cultivated worldwide for its fruit, the common strawberry. It is also called the pineapple strawberry, or ananas strawberry. The fruit is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in prepared foods such as preserves, fruit juices, strawberry pies, ice creams, and milkshakes. Artificial strawberry  aroma is also widely used in many industrialized food products.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. × ananassa
Binomial name
Fragaria × ananassa

ABIOTIC REQUIREMENTS OF STRAWBERRIES (FRAGARIA X ANANNASSA)

 Abiotic factors that must be covered for growing strawberry plants in our greenhouse:

  •  Temperature [1]
Optimum vegetative temperature: From 10 ºC to 13 ºC (during the night)From 18 ºC to 22 ºC (during the day)
Minimum lethal temperature: ─ 12 ºC
Optimum temperature of flowering: From 15 ºC to 20 ºC
Minimum biologic temperature: 6 ºC

Temperature may interact or override the photoperiodic effect in all types of strawberries. Basically, cool temperatures promote and warm temperatures inhibit flowering. Growth and development of strawberry are highly sensitive to variations in air and soil temperatures. Therefore, growth temperatures can influence strawberry plant growth and fruit quality [2] [3]

  •  Substrate / ground

The substrate is the ground (normally the soil) and the material where the plants will root. It is very important because it is from where the roots of the plants take the essential nutrients they need. The water–culture systems of hydroponics provide another option, which allows the plant to grow their roots floating on a nutrient solution that keeps flowing through a tube.[4

  •  Sun light (photoperiodism)

Plants need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day to carry out the process of photosynthesis. During photosynthesis plants use the light energy (with the help of carbon dioxide and water) to create glucose, a kind of sugar, to keep the plant alive, and also to produce oxygen. [5]

  • Humidity 

The optimum relative humidity for growing strawberries in a greenhouse is from 65% – 70%. Less or more humidity will affect the plant causing it different diseases. [6]

  •  pH

The optimum pH of the nutrient solution for strawberries is of 5.8. It can vary between 5.5 and 6.5. A wrong pH in a soil can cause various plant diseases in that it difficult needed nutrients from being available because the soil isn’t healthy. In conditions that are extremely alkaline or acid, plants can die. [6][7]

  •  Conductivity (CE)

It is very important to be aware of the electrical conductivity of the nutrient solution to detect a possible accumulation of salts in the substrate. The optimum CE in the residual water is 1.6.[6][7]

  •  Atmospheric Pressure

One of the reasons that plants can have difficulties for growing on Mars is due to the differences in atmospheric pressure. On Earth, it is approximately 101 kPa, which is the ideal condition for the strawberry plant growth. So, it is important to regulate the atmospheric pressure inside the greenhouse in order to optimize the growing of plants in Mars. If atmospheric pressure goes too low, a plant cannot survive due to the lack of gas exchange that can take place. Atmospheric pressure is important to the nutrition of growing plants. [8]

  •  Gas Concentration

In the Earth’s atmosphere, oxygen makes up about 20 percent of the gases present in the air. This is a required element for plant growth. Even if we reduce or increase the atmospheric pressure inside the greenhouse, it is important to maintain the same amount of oxygen for plant growth, which is about 15 to 20 kPa, regardless of the amount of atmospheric pressure. To prevent flammability of the air, atmospheric pressure must remain above 30 to 50 kPa total pressure. [8]

  •  Water (H2O)

Plants need water, as well as nutrients, which are absorbed by the roots. Plants are 90 percent water. Water is transported throughout the plant almost continuously to keep its vital processes working. Growing strawberry plants require a constantly moist environment, so regular watering is needed. To have the most success growing strawberries, at least an inch of water should be provided to the plants either through rainfall or direct supplemental. Up to two inches of water can be given while the fruit is forming, from early bloom until the end of harvest. Watering should continue during dry periods. This later water helps reduce stress on the strawberry plants which helps fruit bud formation in the following year. [9]

  •  Carbon Dioxide. (CO2)

CO2 is an essential building block in glucose production which is used as energy for new plant growth.[10]

  •  Oxygen (O2)

Oxygen is required to get nutrients in.[11]

  •  Nutrient Solution

The nutrient solution is one of the most important factors in the growth of strawberries in a hydroponic system, because it is the only source of nutrients for the plant. A plant needs to grow healthy and strong 3 non mineral nutrients, 6 macronutrients and 11 micronutrients. Each nutrient has a different function in the plant. Those nutrients are:

  • Non mineral nutrients 

Function of Hydrogen: Hydrogen is an important part of the composition of water. Water is an essential component for the chemical reactions in photosynthesis to produce glucose. It is used also to dissolve the chemical nutrients that the plant takes from the ground to make its own tissues. The bridges of hydrogen form the cellulose that make up the cellular wall.

Function of Oxygen:

Plants need oxygen for the process of cellular respiration. Oxygen form part of the composition of water, and plants take oxygen from water to use it in the photosynthesis process.

Function of Carbon:

Carbon is the principal component of the essential substances for plants, such as carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, enzymes, hormones, etc.  The carbon in plants comes from the carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere during photosynthesis.[10]

  •  Function of mineral macronutrients

Functions of Nitrogen: The Nitrogen is a necessary element for any living cell. Become a part of enzymes and proteins, it is necessary for the synthesis and energy transfer. The magnesium together with the nitrogen form part of chlorophyll, and therefore is responsible for taking the plant green, for the leaves to grow and to produce adequate fruit and seeds.

Functions of Phosphorus: Phosphorus is involved in photosynthesis to help transform solar energy into chemical energy. The plants get energy from photosynthesis is stored in the form of phosphate to be used by the plant to grow and reproduce. Phosphorus allows proper maturation of the plant, facilitates growth, and promotes root formation and flowers and it’s involved in cell division and elongation.

Phosphorus increases the resistance of plants to low temperatures and makes them more resistant to disease. [12]

Functions of Potassium: After nitrogen is the nutrient that plants take in greater amounts, appears dissolved in the cation K +. Potassium is involved in plant growth for its power to activate enzymes. An adequate level of potassium makes plants more resistant to disease. Encourages flowering and increases its resistance. Potassium fertilizers enrich the fruits get protein.

Functions of Calcium: Contributes to the transport of minerals as well as their retention, the growth of seeds and fruit ripening, provides force preventing the plants grow old before. It is vital to counteract the effect of the alkali salts and organic acids.[13]

 Functions of Magnesium: Magnesium forms part of the chlorophyll, therefore it is essential to photosynthesis. Magnesium is involved in the growth of plants through hormonal activation. It is important in the production of ATP through its role as an enzyme cofactor. [14]
Functions of Sulfur: Sulfur contributes to the formation of roots and seed production. It helps the plants get stronger and grow harder. Sulfur is essential in the manufacturing of chloroplasts. Symptoms of deficiency include yellowing of leaves and stunted growth.

  • Functions of micronutrients

 The difference between macro and micronutrients is that the plants just need a little quantity of these ones. Micronutrients are essential for the health and development of the plants.

Iron (Fe): Is extremely important for photosynthesis, so the chlorophyll can be produced.

Copper (Cu): This mineral is really important for the plant to grow. It is also important for photosynthesis.

Zinc (Zn): Participates in the formation of the auxins, a group of vegetal hormones that controls the grown process.

Chlorine (Cl): Is involved in the metabolism of the plant.

Manganese (Mn): Is involved in the formation of the chlorophyll. And it is also important in the nitrogen’s metabolism.

Molybdenum (Mo): Is necessary for legumes to fix nitrogen.

Boron (B):  Contributes to the formation of carbohydrates.

Sodium (Na): Is involved in the regeneration of phosphoenolpyruvate, and it also can substitute potassium sometimes.

Nickel (Ni): Essential for the activation of the unease (an enzyme involved in the nitrogen metabolism).

Cobalt (Co): is needed of nitrogen fixation in some plants.

Aluminum (Al): It may serve as a fungicide against some root rot. [10]

BIOTIC REQUIREMENTS

 Biotic factors that must be covered for growing strawberry plants in our greenhouse:

The strawberry plant (Fragaria x Ananassa) is hermaphrodite and presents self-pollination, so the plant does not need another animal such as bees to live. The plant uses the wind as a method of pollination. Therefore, the only biotic requirement for its growth is the plant itself.[15]

 

REFERENCES:

[5]  Prof. Dr. Weihenstephan, Hans Häckel. “Why do plants need sunlight” Bayer CropScience©. Web. [September 14th, 2012] PDF File. <http://www.agrocourier.com/bcsweb/cscms_de.nsf/id/plasun_agro/$file/plants_sunlight.pdf>

[6]  Memorias del IV Simposio Nacional de Horticultura. “Producción de fresa en invernadero.” Jaime J. Martínez Téllez y Héctor M. León Gallegos, Facultad de Ciencias Agrotecnologicas, Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua. October, 2004.

<http://www.uaaan.mx/postgrado/images/files/hort/simposio4/08-Produccion_fresa_invernadero.pdf>

[7]  Strawberries in the Home Garden. E Barclay Polling, Extensions Horticultural Specialist. September 1993.                                                                      <http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/hil/hil-8205.html>

[8]  Turtenwald, Kimberly. eHow Contributor – The Effects of Atmospheric Pressure on Plants  eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_11404255_effects-atmospheric-pressure-plants.html#ixzz27aQzsNs9

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