Towards a virtual African eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum): seedling growth under direct and diffuse light
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A model is a simplified representation of reality. Plant growth models allow researchers test different hypotheses and perform virtual experiments on varieties that don’t exist yet. In addition, experiments that can be time consuming in the field, and those that cannot be done in the natural environment can be conducted virtually with plant growth models. There has been no attempt to model the growth and development of African Eggplant. The main objective of this study was to develop a Functional Structural Plant Growth Model of the African Eggplant for two cultivar groups (‘Shum’ and ‘Gilo’) grown under diffuse and direct light. Four different growth functions (Richards/generalized logistic, Gompertz, logistic, and exponential were fitted to data on leaf area and internode length. The study hypothesized that 1) leaf and internode growth follow the Richards growth function, and 2) the effect of the type of incident radiation on the growth and development of the African eggplant will depend on the cultivar. Results show that unlike ‘Gilo’, leaf width growth in ‘Shum’ depends on the the type of incident radiation Results also show that leaf and internode growth follow the Generalized logistic/Richard sigmoid growth curve. More experiments on the effect of pests and nutrient uptake can be conducted following the calculations from the mentioned growth curve.