CONTINUOUS USE OF PLANT NUTRIENT SOLUTION FOR HYDROPONIC CULTURE OF SWEETPOTATO:IMPLICATIONS AND EFFECTS

in HortScience
View More View Less
  • 1 Agricultural Experiment Station, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088

In a greenhouse study, continuous use of the same plant nutrient solution for hydroponic culture of sweetpotato was investigated to determine the effect on storage root yield, plant growth and nutrient solution composition. Plants were grown for 120 days under continuous flow from a 30.4-liter reservoir. Plant growth was compared when nutrient solution was changed at 14-day intervals and when nutrient solution was not changed but nutrients replenished through addition of a Modified half-Hoagland's (N:K=1:2.4) plant nutrient solution when volume in reservoir was -10 liters. Storage root yield was significantly decreased (181 vs 310.3 g/plant) and foliar biomass was significantly increased (372.4 vs 2% g/plant) when nutrient solution was not changed Nitrate and phosphate concentrations decreased in the plant nutrient over the duration of the experiment while sulfate and chloride concentrations increased. Salinity and electrical conductivity were monitored at 2-day intervals and increased with duration of the crop. Increased foliage production may have been the result of nitrogen replenishment going largely for foliage rather than storage root production. It may be that continuous use of the same plant nutrient solution as practiced in this study, resulted in lowered phosphate and nitrate concentrations that limited uptake of these ions by sweetpotato plants, thus reducing yield