10 April, 2022
iLab new article was published in Plant-environment Interactions
Title: Effects of superhydrophobic sand mulching on evapotranspiration and phenotypic responses in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants under normal and reduced irrigation
by Kennedy Odokonyero, Adair Gallo Jr, Vinicius dos Santos & Himanshu Mishra
Abstract: Here, we investigate the effects of 1 cm-thick SHS mulching on the evapotranspiration and phenotypic responses of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants as a model system under normal and reduced irrigation inside controlled growth chambers. Experimental results reveal that under either irrigation scenario, SHS mulching suppresses evaporation and enhances transpiration by 78% and 17%, respectively relative to the unmulched soil. Comprehensive phenotyping revealed that SHS mulching enhanced root xylem vessel diameter, stomatal aperture, stomatal conductance, and chlorophyll content index by 21%, 25%, 28%, and 23%, respectively, in comparison with the unmulched soil. Consequently, total fruit yields, total dry mass, and harvest index increased in SHS-mulched plants by 33%, 20%, and 16%, respectively compared with the unmulched soil. These results underscore the potential of SHS for realizing food–water security and greening initiatives in arid regions.