Eggplant production in a protected environment with plant vibration
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the production of eggplant fruit according to plant vibration in two types of protected environments, with and without an aphid-proof screen, preventing or permitting the entry of pollinators. Two eggplant hybrids (Roxelle, clear purple color and round shape fruits, and Kokushi, purple color and elongated fruits), two vibration treatments (with or without plant vibration), and two environments (with or without screen) were assessed. The split-plot experiment had a randomized block design, with four replications. The plots consisted of the plants' vibration or non-vibration, and the split-plots consisted of the hybrids. To compare the two environments, a conjoint analysis was performed. The plants were vibrated for approximately 5 s by manually shaking the wire where the plant stick was fixed, twice a day, from the beginning of flowering till the last immature fruit harvesting. The number of seeds per fruit and fruit yield per plant were evaluated. It was concluded that the presence of insects in the open environment increases marketable fruit yield only in hybrid Roxelle (2120 and 1172 g plant<sup>-1</sup>, with and without insects, respectivelly), the number of seeds per fruit in both hybrids in treatment without plant vibration (average of 584 and 110 seeds, with and without insects, respectivelly), and that plant vibration may partially replace the absence of pollinator insects in a closed environment protected with a screen, with an increase in fruit yield.