Pure polyethylene (PE) is enriched with several additives to make it a smart application material in protected cultivation, as a cover material for either greenhouses or screenhouses.
When this material completely or partially absorbs ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation, then it is called UV blocking material. The current work presents a review on the effects of the UV blocking covering materials on crop growth and development. Despite the passage of several years and the evolution of the design technology of plastic greenhouse covers, UV blocking materials have not ceased to be a rather interesting technique for the protection of several vegetable and ornamental species.
Much of the research on UV blocking materials focuses on their indisputable effect on reducing the activity of pests and viral-related diseases, rather than on the effects on the crop physiology itself. In the present paper, representative studies dealing with the effect of the UV blocking materials on the agronomic factors of different crops are presented and discussed.
The results reveal that UV blocking materials have mainly positive effects on the different plant physiological functions, such as photosynthesis and transpiration rate, and on growth characteristics, while they might have a negative effect on the production and content of secondary compounds, as anthocyanins and total phenolics.