Peanut Production using Recirculating Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

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  • 1 1Dynamac Corp., Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899.
  • | 2 2NASA Biomedical Operations Office, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899.

As part of NASA's effort with bioregenerative life support systems, the growth of candidate crops is being investigated in controlled environments. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) was selected for the high oil and protein content of its seed. Peanut cvs. Pronto and Early Bunch were grown from seed, using recirculating nutrient film technique (NFT) in 6-cm-deep, trapazoidal culture trays. The trays were fitted with slotted covers, which allowed developing pegs to reach the root zone. Use of a separate moss-filled pegging compartment above the root zone (tray within a tray) had little effect on seed yield, but resulted in a 60% increase in the nitric acid requirements for pH control. Yields from both cultivars were equivalent to field values on an area basis; however, harvest indices were lower than field values due to the luxuriant canopy growth under controlled environment conditions. Proximate analysis of seeds was similar to field values, with the exception of fat, which was ≈15% lower, and ash, which was ≈30% greater under controlled environment conditions, regardless of cultivar.

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