951 PB 446 RESPONSE OF TOMATOES GROWN IN AN AEROPONIC GROWTH CHAMBER

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architectur Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6414

An aeroponic growth chamber is a system for growing plants in air with water and nutrients supplied by intermittent mist. This type of plant growth system is especially useful for experiments where root accessibility is desired. Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum L. `Bonnie Best') were used to test the performance of an aeroponic growth chamber. A nutrient solution mist was applied through spray nozzles suspended below roots of supported seedlings. Mist application was regulated by electric timers, so that mist was applied for 50 sec. every 5 min. during the 16-hr light period, which was supplemented with a high-pressure sodium lamp. Root and stem lengths, leaf number and leaf lengths were measured weekly. Plastochron index (PI) was used to measure rate of leaf initiation. PI increased linearly, indicating uniform initiation of leaf primordia and absence of environmental stresses. Stem and root lengths increased consistently throughout the growing period. Each plant was harvested, separated into leaves, shoots and roots, oven dried, and dry weights measured.

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