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  • 1 NASA Biomed. Operations (rmw, jcs) and The Bionetics Corn. (clm, gws), Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899, and Biomed. and Environ. Sci., Univ. of Calif. (wlb), Los Angeles, CA 90024

Requirements for water, nutrient replenishment and acid (for pH control) were monitored for stands of wheat, soybean, potato, and lettuce grown in a recirculating hydroponic culture using a modified 1/2 Hoagland solution with NO3-N. Water use at full canopy cover for all crops ranged from 4 to 5 L m-2 day-1. When averaged over the entire crop cycle, nutrient stock solution (∼0.9 S m-1) use varied from 0.2 L m-2 day-1 (lettuce: to 0.75 L m-2 day-1 (wheat), while acid use varied from 6 mmol m-2 day-1 (lettuce and soybeans) to over 40 mmol m-2 day-1 (wheat). Water-per unit biomass was highest for soybean and lettuce (0.3 to 0.4 L g DW), and least for wheat and potato (0.15 L g DW). Nutrient replenishment per unit biomass was highest for lettuce, 34 mL g-1 DW, with other crops ranging from 21-26 mL g-1 DW. Acid requirements were highest for wheat, 1.2 mmol g-1 DW, and lowest for potato, 0.7 mmol g-1 DW. On a PAR basis, acid needs were highest for wheat, 0.6 mmol mol-1 photons, with all other crops near 0.4 mmol mol-1. Acid data suggest that wheat nutrient uptake favors anions more strongly than the other species, or that more nitrate loss (e.g., denitrification) may occur during wheat growth.

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