540 Influence of Calcium Nutrition on Growth and Tissue Electrolyte Leakage in Carrot (Daucus carota)

in HortScience

The influence of calcium (Ca++) nutrition on the growth and root tissue electrolyte leakage (EL) of carrot (Daucus carota) was investigated using a hydroponic culture system. Seedlings of `Navajo' carrot were grown for 10 weeks with roots submersed in hydroponic nutrient solutions containing 0, 0.1, 1, 2, 4, or 8 meq/L Ca++. The nutrient solution was replenished weekly with its pH maintained at 5.8 for the entire experimental period. The tap root lengths increased as solution Ca++ concentration increased. The diameter and fresh and dry weights of the tap roots increased as Ca++ concentration increased up to 4 meq/L, and then decreased at 8 meq/L Ca++. The root and petiole concentrations of sugar, potassium, and nitrate were unaffected by changes in nutrient solution Ca++ levels. The tissue EL, when tested for the stored roots, decreased as solution Ca++ concentration increased (r = 0.602). Results of this experiment suggest that calcium nutrition is essential for maintaining cell wall integrity in hydroponically grown carrot roots.

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