How do colored shade nets affect postharvest quality of fresh produce?

Modification of spectral quality via colored shade nets can act as a physiological tool to modify the crop microenvironment and advance plant growth, yield, and fresh produce quality after harvest and prolonged storage. This mini-review presents data on the physiological responses in fruits and vegetables linked to light quality under different colored shade nets. The physiological parameters discussed in the review include growth parameters, fruit ripening, physiological disorders, pest and disease incidence, and fruit and vegetable quality parameters. In addition, it is evident in the reviewed literature that light quality influences the biosynthesis, accumulation, and retention of fruits and vegetable phytochemicals, as well as the decay development during storage.

These new strategies to modulate light quality should be conveyed to fresh produce producing farmers, thus allowing them to preserve the freshness and post-harvest quality of fruits and vegetables for an extended duration of time, and to meet the consumer's demand for fresh produce with high nutritional value all year round. The application of photoselective shade netting technology is gaining popularity around the world; in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America. The shade nets can be placed directly over the plants (net-house) or in combination with plastic tunnels. They can also be movable or fixed. Research on light manipulation in horticultural systems is necessary for a sustainable and market-oriented open field and greenhouse vegetable production in the future.

Therefore, the aim of this mini-review is to elucidate the latest information on light quality manipulation by photoselective colored shade-nets and on their influence on external, internal, biochemical, and sensory parameters after harvest and prolonged storage and shelf life of fruits and vegetables. 

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