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Climate and Season Independent

undefinedA distinct characteristic of well designed phytotrons is that the internal environmental conditions specified by the operator are totally independent of the external environmental conditions. For example, a temperature defined for conditions internal to the phytotron would be maintained independently from the external environmental conditions in any geographic region and any seasonal condition of the geographic region.

The profound impact that light intensity and photoperiod have on plant growth and development are well documented. They are significant factors when plants are grown in greenhouses or tunnels and invariably impact plant growth and potato tuber yields due to their naturally occurring condition such as cloudy days and seasonal changes in duration of sunlight. These light limiting conditions do not exist in a phytotron where these environmental variables are operator controlled.

This characteristic of using phytotrons compared to other types of housing used for growing plants reduces the initial and maintenance costs incurred in the type of building used to house the phytotrons. Also, the phytotrons can be operated all year compared to greenhouses or tunnels that can not be operated during the hot and cold times of the year. However if operated during these times greenhouses or tunnels must be equipped with costly temperature control equipment, including costly operational requirements. During the seasonal high temperature periods, the environment external to the phytotron can be cooled by convection rather than by more expensive mechanical refrigeration.

In geographic regions having seasonal temperatures that go below 0° C (32° F), the conditions external to the phytotron must be maintained above these temperatures to avoid freezing of the nutrient solution and any other water sources in the vicinity of the phytotron.