Growth, Productivity, and Mineral Composition of Hydroponically Cultivated Greenhouse Tomatoes, with or without Nutrient Solution Recycling

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Capello) were grown in the three most promising and used hydroponic cultivation systems using rockwool and peatmoss substrates and nutrient film technique (NFT), either with or without recovery and recycling of the drainage solutions. Prolonged recycling of nutrient solutions in NFT caused a reduction in fresh weight, dry weight, and yield compared to plants grown in NFT with regular renewal of the nutrient solution. There were no differences in growth, productivity, and leaf mineral composition between plants grown in rockwool and peatmoss systems, with or without recycling, and in the NFT system without recycling. These results suggest that recycling drainage solutions is an economically and environmentally sound horticultural practice that when used correctly does not cause a reduction in yield of tomatoes cultivated in rockwool or peatmoss. However, prolonged use of the same solution in the NFT cultivation system can negatively affect growth and yield. This is most likely due to an accumulation of sulfate ions in the fertigation solutions.

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