Growth, content and composition of lemon balm essential oil cultivated under color shading nets

The use of color shading nets for cultivation of some ornamentals and vegetables has become common. Thus, observing the great influence of the solar radiation on the plant physiology, the objective of this research was to evaluate the the quantity and quality effects of spectral light transmitted through color shading nets (Chromatinet®) in Melissa officinalis L., including physiological aspects as:growth ,content and chemistry composition. Four treatments and five replications were disposed in a completely randomized design, being each experimental unit composed by four pots (one plant per pot). The treatments were lemon balm's plants cultivated under full sunshine, black shading net (50%), red shading net (50%) and blue shading net (50%). The characteristics evaluated were: plant's height; dry phytomass of leaves, stems, aerial part, roots and total; root/aerial part ratio; total leaf area; leaf area ratio; leaf weight ratio; specific leaf area; content, yield and composition of the essential oil. The utilization of nets favored the growth organs dry phytomass yield, independently of the color, in comparison with total sun light. Plants under red shading had lower content of essential oil and yield, but they showed the higher content of citral.

medicinal plant; light; chromatinet®; citral

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