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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2021, Vol. 20 Issue (10): 2680-2695    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(20)63382-2
Special Issue: 园艺-栽培生理/资源品质合辑Horticulture — Physiology · Biochemistry · Cultivation
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Optimization of rhizosphere cooling airflow for microclimate regulation and its effects on lettuce growth in plant factory
LI Kun1, 2, FANG Hui2, ZOU Zhi-rong1, CHENG Rui-feng2
1 College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University/Key Laboratory of Protected Horticultural Engineering in Northwest, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, Yangling 712100, P.R.China
2 Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science/Key Laboratory of Energy Conservation and Waste Management of Agricultural Structures, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, Beijing 100081, P.R.China
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In plant factories, the plant microclimate is affected by the control system, plant physiological activities and aerodynamic characteristics of leaves, which often leads to poor ventilation uniformity, suboptimal environmental conditions and inefficient air conditioning.  In this study, interlayer cool airflow (ILCA) was used to introduce room air into plants’ internal canopy through vent holes in cultivation boards and air layer between cultivation boards and nutrient solution surface (interlayer).  By using optimal operating parameters at a room temperature of 28°C, the ILCA system achieved similar cooling effects in the absence of a conventional air conditioning system and achieved an energy saving of 50.8% while bringing about positive microclimate change in the interlayer and nutrient solution.  This resulted in significantly reduced root growth by 41.7% without a negative influence on lettuce crop yield.  Future development in this precise microclimate control method is predicted to replace the conventional cooling (air conditioning) systems for crop production in plant factories.
Keywords:  air movement        environmental control        microclimate        water cooling        root and shoot growth  
Received: 22 April 2020   Accepted:
Fund: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31701969); the Key Projects of Ningxia Key R&D Program Fund, China (2018BBF02012) and the Science and Technology Program of Shaanxi Province, China (2017ZDXM-NY-057).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence ZOU Zhi-rong, E-mail:; CHENG Rui-feng, E-mail:   
About author:  LI Kun, E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

LI Kun, FANG Hui, ZOU Zhi-rong, CHENG Rui-feng. 2021. Optimization of rhizosphere cooling airflow for microclimate regulation and its effects on lettuce growth in plant factory. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 20(10): 2680-2695.

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