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Lauren Garner, Desmond Mortley, Philip Loretan, Audrey Trotman, and Pauline David

An experiment was conducted in a greenhouse environment to determine the relationship between type of cutting and planting depth on sweetpotato [Ipomea batatas (L) Lam] storage root yield using the nutrient film technique. Vine cuttings of the cultivar 'TI-155' were planted in growth channels (122×15×15 cm) in modified half Hoagland's solution. Treatments consisted of cuttings with all leaves and shoot apex removed with two nodes inserted (2NB), cuttings with all leaves and shoot apex removed with five nodes inserted (5NB). and cuttings with four leaves and the shoot apex remaining with two nodes inserted (2NB-L). Plants were harvested 130 days after planting and yield data was taken. Plants in 2NB-L had a significantly lower percent dry matter than those of 2NB. Neither cutting type nor planting depth affected yield or yield related parameters.

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A.A. Trotman, D. G. Mortley, P.P. David., and G.W. Carver

The effect of inoculation of sweetpotato (Ipomea batatas L. (Lam.)) cultivar “TI-82-155” with Azospirillum brasilense was investigated in an observational greenhouse experiment. Sweetpotato was grown in a closed hydroponic system and plant nutrients were supplied in a Modified Half-strength Hoagland's solution (N:K 1:2.4) using a nutrient film technique system (NFT). Plants were either supplied with mineral nitrogen (160 ppm) and noninoculated or were supplied mineral nitrogen (160 ppm) and inoculated. Storage root dry matter was higher under inoculation with A. brasilense. Inoculation also increased the percent total nitrogen in the shoot, leaves, and fibrous root. There was a significant difference in fresh fibrous root weight for the inoculated (262.5 g) over the noninoculated (177.1 g) treatments. Mineral nitrogen supplied in the PNS was not limiting because dry matter for plants inoculated with A. brasilense was not significantly higher than for the noninoculated control.

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Fahed A. Al-Mana and Tarik M. El-Kiey

Production of five commercial cut flowers in different culture media, namelyI nutrient film technique (NFT), soilless media (perlite and an equal mix of perlite and peatmoss), and soil mix (2 sand: 1 loam by volume), was investigated in controlled fiberglass-house. Two rose varieties (Rosa hybrida var. Baccara and Madina); carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus var. William Sim); Chrysanthemum morifolium var. Delta, and Dahlia hybrida var. variabilis were used. Plants were watered as they needed by the same nutrient solution used for NFT.

Generally, growth and yield of Baccara and Madina roses, Chrysanthemum and Dhalia plants were superior in NFT than in the other media. On the contrary, the growth and yield of carnation plants were significantly greater in conventional soil or perlite and peatmoss mix than in NFT or perlite.

Flower crops grown in NFT generally reached harvest stage 5-10 days earlier than those grown in the other media except carnation plants. There were variations in the accumulation of N, P, K mg, ca, and Fe in plant leaves among the various culture media.

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W. Cao and T.W. Tibbitts

A modified nutrient film technique (NFT) with a shallow granite medium was developed to control the flow rate and concentration of nutrients to which potato plants were subjected. Flow rates were 2, 4, and 8 ml per minute with balanced nutrient concentrations at 25, 50, and 100% (0.6 to 2.4 dS m-1 conductivity) of modified Hoagland's solution that was not recycled. Potato growth was greatest and about equal at 4 ml of 50% solution and at 8 ml of 25% solution. In shoots, accumulation of P, Fe, and Mn increased with both increasing concentrations and increasing flow rates. Zn accumulation decreased with increasing concentrations, and Ca, Mg, and Cu accumulation decreased with increasing flow rates. Accumulation of K, S, and B differed little with either concentrations or flow rates. In tubers, the differences resulting from variations in concentrations and flow rates were less than in shoots but accumulation patterns were similar except Ca and Mg accumulation did not decrease with increasing flow rates and K accumulation increased with both increases in concentration and increases in flow rate.

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D.G. Mortley, P A. Loretan, A.A Trotman, P. P David, L.C Garner, and G. W. Carver

The effects of altering, nutrient solution N:K ratio on growth of `TI-155' sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] was evaluated in a greenhouse, as part of NASA's Closed Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) program for long duration space missions. Vine cuttings of `TI-155', were grown using nutrient film technique (NFT) in a modified half Hoagland's solution in channels (0.15×0.15×1.2 m). Plants were grown for 42 days in a culture solution in which N was doubled (6 mM) in order to accelerate foliage growth after which treatment N:K ratios of 1:2.4, (control) 1:4.8, and 1:7.2 were initiated. A randomized complete block design with 4 replications was used. The number of storage roots/plant increased linearly as K was increased in the solution. Storage root fresh and dry weights, growth rate (g m-2 d-1), fibrous root dry weight, foliage fresh and dry weights, and edible biomass index (root mass/total plant mass), though not significant all increased as K was increased in the nutrient solution. Nutrient solution analyses showed that K uptake was greatest in plants at the highest K level, while nitrate uptake was steady over the duration of crop growth regardless of treatments.

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S. Burrell, D. Mortley, P. Loretan, A.A Trotman, P. P David, and G. W. Carver

The effects of light intensity on three sweetpotato cultivars [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] were evaluated in growth chambers, as part of NASA's Closed Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) program for long duration space missions. Vine cuttings of `TI-155', `GA Jet', and TUJ1 were grown using nutrient film technique (NFT) in a modified half Hoagland's solution with a 1:2.4 N:K ratio in channels (0.15×0.15×1.2 m). Plants were exposed to irradiance levels of 360 or 720 umols m-2s-1 with an 18/6 photoperiod in a randomized complete block design with two replications. Temperature was set at 28:22 lightdark and RH was 70%. Differences in plant response to were more related to cultivars than the effect of light intensity. Storage root number (8) fresh, (786 g/plant) and dry weights (139 g/plant) were highest for `TI-155' while foliage fresh and dry weights were highest for `TUJ1' when averaged across light levels. TI-155' (921 g/plant) and `GA Jet' (538 g/plant) produced greater yields at higher irradiance. `TUJ1' produced a higher yield (438 g/plant at the lower intensity compared to 219 (g/plant) at the higher intensity, suggesting this cultivar could produce storage roots in similar conditions in a CELSS.

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R.M. Wheeler, C.L. Mackowiak, J.C. Sager, B. Vieux, and W.M. Knott

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. Waldmann's Green) plants were grown in a large, tightly sealed chamber for NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) program. Plants were started by direct seeding and grown in 64 0.25-m2 trays (six plants per tray) using nutrient film technique. Environmental conditions included: 23°C, 75% relative humidity, 1000 ubar (ppm) CO2, a 16/8 photoperiod, and 300 umol m-2 s-1 PPF from metal halide lamps. Although the chamber was typically opened once each day for cultural activities, atmospheric ethylene levels (measured with GC/PID) increased from near 15 ppb at 23 days after planting (DAP) to 47 ppb at 28 DAP. At harvest (28 DAP), heads averaged 129 g FW or 6.8 g DW per plant, and roots averaged 0.6 g DW per plant. Some tipburn injury was apparent on most of the plants at harvest. By 28 DAP, stand photosynthesis rates for the entire chamber (approx. 20 m2) reached 17.4 umol CO2 m-2 s-1, while dark-period respiration rates reached 5.5 umol CO2 m-2 s-1. Results suggest that good yields can be obtained from lettuce grown in a tightly sealed environment.

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Philip A. Loretan, Fred A. Avicki, Desmond G. Mortley, and Wiletha Horton

A cooling system using the principles of heat transfer was designed to provide a temperature difference of 6C between root and shoot zones and to study the effect of this difference on growth, yield, and phenology of `TI-155' sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] grown using the nutrient film technique in a greenhouse. Treatments were temperature control (20C) and variable temperature (26C) in a randomized complete-block design with two replications. A modified half Hoagland's nutrient solution with a 1 N: 2.4 K ratio was used and was changed every 2 weeks. Nutrient solution pH was maintained between 5.5 and 6, and electrical conductivity, salinity, and solution temperature were monitored at regular intervals. Storage root fresh and dry weights (except for fibrous root dry weight) and foliage fresh and dry weights were not significantly influenced by root zone temperature. Leaf expansion rate and vine length were lower for root zone temperature control plants; stomatal conductance, transpiration, and leaf unfolding rates were similar for both treatments.

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R.M. Wheeler, G.W. Stutte, C.L. Mackowiak, N.C. Yorio, and L.M. Ruffe

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) have been grown successfully with a recirculating nutrient film technique (NFT) when a fresh nutrient solution is used for each planting. During the past year, we conducted two studies in which the same nutrient solution was used for successive plantings (EC and pH were maintained at 0.12 S·m–1 and 5.8). Results showed that successive plantings became prematurely induced (tubers initiating near 20 days after planting–DAP), causing stunted shoot growth and reduced yields per plant. When “old” nutrient solution from a continuous production system was regularly added to a newly started plant system maintained under a non-inductive environment (12-h photoperiod with night break of 6 h into dark), tubers formed on “old” nutrient solution plants (24 DAP), but not on “new” solution plants. When charcoal water filters were placed on the systems, plants grown on either “old” or “new” nutrient solutions showed no tuber initiation (plants harvested at 42 DAP). Results suggest that a tuber-inducing factor(s) emanating from the plants accumulates in the nutrient solution over time and that the factor(s) can be removed by charcoal absorption.

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Desmond G. Mortley

The effects of 0.25, 1.0, 2.5, 10, and 100 mg Mn/liter on sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] were evaluated in a greenhouse during 2 years using the nutrient film technique. Foliage and storage root dry weights declined linearly as Mn concentration increased in either whole plants or fibrous roots. Foliage and storage root dry weights were equally sensitive to Mn concentration in whole plants but 5 to 15 times more sensitive to increased Mn concentration in the fibrous roots. Foliar N, P, K, Ca, and Mg concentrations were adequate and did not appear to limit plant growth. Manganese concentrations in solution had very little effect on Fe, Zn, or B concentration. Manganese concentration was higher in the foliage than in fibrous roots. Plant roots showed browning at the higher (10 or 100 mg Mn/liter) concentrations in solution, which indicated the presence of oxidized Mn. Characteristic toxicity symptoms were observed in plants receiving 2.5 (moderate), 10, or 100 mg Mn/liter in solution.