GROWTH OF SWEETPOTATO IN HYDROPONIC SYSTEMS USING SPLIT-ROOT CHANNELS

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  • 1 Tuskegee University NASA CELSS Center. George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station. Tuskegee, AL 36088

Nutrient technique (NFT) and deep water culture (DWC) hydroponic systems were used to grow sweetpotao to study the effect of four nutrient solution treatments on: translocation of nutrients and plant and microbial population growth in split-root channels. 'TU-155'cuttings (15 cm) were prerooted for 30 days in sand in 4 cm CPVC pipes 46 cm in length. A modified half Hoagland (MHH) solution was supplied ad libidum. After 30 days, plants were removed and the roots of each plant were cleaned and split evenly between two channels (15 cm deep by 15 cm wide by 1.2 m long). four plants per channel. Nutrient solution treatments (replicated) were: MHH-MHH: MHH-Air, MHH-deionized water (DIW); and monovalent (Mono) - divalent (Dival) anions and cations. Solution samples were continuously collected at 7-day intervals for microbial population profiling. Plants were harvested after growing for 120 days in a greenhouse. Storage roots, when produced, were similar in nutritive components. However, no storage roots were produced in Air or Mono channels and only a few in DIW. Fresh and dry weights for storage roots and foliage were highest in MHH-MHH in both NFT and DWC in repeated experiments. Population counts indicated that nutrient solution composition influenced the size of the microbial population in NFT. Population counts were highest in Dival channels. The microbial population counts (4.20-7.49 cfu/mL) were. relatively high in both NFT and DWC systems.

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