Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) is widely used for slope protection and water and soil conservation in southern China. The plants develop an extensive root system that plays a crucial role in the protection of both soil and water. However, little is currently known about the factors that influence early root growth in bahiagrass. Here, the effects of boron (B), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), salicylic acid (SA), and melatonin (MLT) on root growth characteristics were examined. Bahiagrass seedlings were grown in 1/25 strength modified Hoagland nutrient solution supplemented with boric acid, calcium chloride, ferric ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (Fe-EDTA), lanthanum chloride, cerium chloride, SA, or MLT. Root lengths, root surface areas, and the number of root tips were analyzed using a root scanning system after 2, 4, and 6 days of treatment. We found significant effects on root growth after some treatments. Thus, 0.270 or 0.360 mm B for 2 days enhanced root tip number, whereas 0.15 mm Fe for 6 days increased root surface area. Although 3 or 5 mm Ca caused an increase in root tip numbers, the root length was reduced. The addition of La to the nutrient solution significantly increased root length and surface area, and addition of Ce increased root surface area and root tip numbers. Root growth characteristics were optimal after 0.3 μm La for 6 days or 1.0 μm La for 4 days. For Ce treatment, optimal root characteristics were observed at 0.5 μm Ce for 6 days. Root tip numbers increased after 0.1 or 1.0 μm MLT for 6 days, whereas SA treatment reduced the root length, surface area, and root tip numbers. Overall, the analyses indicate that treatment with B, Fe, La, Ce, and MLT benefited root growth in bahiagrass seedlings.
The effects of elevated CO2 on growth, pod, and seed yield, and gas exchange of `Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) were evaluated under controlled environmental conditions. Plants were exposed to concentrations of 400 (ambient), 800, and 1200 μmol·mol–1 CO2 in reach-in growth chambers. Foliage fresh and dry weights increased with increased CO2 up to 800 μmol·mol–1, but declined at 1200 μmol·mol–1. The number and the fresh and dry weights of pods also increased with increasing CO2 concentration. However, the yield of immature pods was not significantly influenced by increased CO2. Total seed yield increased 33% from ambient to 800 μmol·mol–1 CO2, and 4% from 800 to 1200 μmol·mol–1 CO2. Harvest index increased with increasing CO2. Branch length increased while specific leaf area decreased linearly as CO2 increased from ambient to 1200 μmol·mol–1. Net photosynthetic rate was highest among plants grown at 800 μmol·mol–1. Stomatal conductance decreased with increased CO2. Carboxylation efficiency was similar among plants grown at 400 and 800 μmol·mol–1 and decreased at 1200 μmol·mol–1CO2. These results suggest that CO2 enrichment from 400 to 800 μmol·mol–1 had positive effects on peanut growth and yield, but above 800 μmol·mol–1 enrichment seed yield increased only marginally.
`Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) was grown hydroponically at 20/16 °C, 24/20 °C, 28/24 °C, and 32/28 °C, day/night air temperatures to evaluate effects on pod and seed yield, flowering, harvest index, and oil content. Ten-day-old peanut seedlings were transplanted into rectangular nutrient film technique troughs (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m) and grown for 110 days. Growth chamber conditions were as follows: photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) mean of 436 μmol·m-2·s-1, 12 h light/12 h dark cycle, and 70% ± 5% relative humidity. The nutrient solution used was a modified half-Hoagland with pH and electrical conductivity maintained between 6.5 to 6.7, and 1000 to 1300 μS·cm-1, respectively, and was replenished weekly. Vegetative growth (foliage, stem growth, total leaf area, and leaf number) was substantially greater at increasingly warmer temperatures. Reproductive growth was significantly influenced by temperature. Flowering was extremely sensitive to temperature as the process was delayed or severely restricted at 20/16 °C. The number of gynophores decreased with temperature and was virtually nonexistent at the lowest temperature. Pod yield increased with temperatures up to 28/24 °C but declined by 15% at the highest temperature (32/28 °C). Seed yield, maturity, and harvest index were highest at 28/24 °C. Oil content (percent crude fat) increased an average of 23% and was highest at the warmest temperature (32/28 °C). These results clearly suggest that vegetative and reproductive growth, as well as oil content of peanut in controlled environments, are best at warmer temperatures of 28/24 °C to 32/28 °C than at cooler temperatures of 20/16 °C to 24/20 °C.
Two- to three-week-old `Sweet Charlie' strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) plug plants were conditioned [seven 9-hour short days without chilling (21 °C day/21 °C night) followed by seven 9-hour short days with chilling during the nyctoperiod (21 °C/12 °C night)] in September, then planted in a vertical hydroponic system for winter greenhouse production. Conditioned plugs produced significantly more fruit than did nonconditioned control plugs in January and February, but the difference was nonsignificant in March and April. Fruit yield increased linearly with height in the column (≈40 g/plant for every 30-cm increase in column height), probably because of increasing light level. When productivity is considered on an area basis (kg·m–2) and the column height effect on yield is accounted for, productivity over a 4.5-month period was 4.8 kg·m–2 for controls and 7.8 kg·m–2 for conditioned plugs. Conditioned plug plants offer the potential for increasing strawberry productivity and therefore the profitability of a winter greenhouse production system.
Growth and photosynthetic parameters were measured in Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinn. ‘Umihonoka’ grown hydroponically under nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), or magnesium (Mg) deficiency in 1/2 strength of modified Johnson’s solution. Plant height, node number, and leaf area were all reduced under N, P, K, and Ca deficiencies but not under Mg deficiency as compared with plants grown in the complete nutrient solution. Shoot and root dry weight were reduced in the N-, P-, K-, and Ca-deficient treatments, whereas root but not shoot dry weight was lowered by Mg-deficient treatment. Shoot-to-root dry weight ratio decreased under N and P deficiencies, increased under K and Mg deficiency, but was not altered under Ca deficiency. Decreased net photosynthetic rate (Pn) of N-, P-, and K-deficient leaves was all related to lower stomatal conductance (g S), whereas N-deficient leaves also accompanied by a higher intercellular carbon dioxide concentration (Ci). The Mg-deficient treatment did not alter chlorophyll fluorescence Fv/Fm, maximal fluorescence (Fm), or minimal fluorescence (Fo). Decreased Fv/Fm of N-, P-, K-, and Ca-deficient leaves was all related to lower Fm, whereas N- and P-deficient leaves also accompanied by lower Fo. A key was developed for the identification of N, P, K, Ca, and Mg deficiency symptoms.
Growth chamber experiments were conducted to study the physiological and growth response of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) to 50% and 85% relative humidity (RH). The objective was to determine the effects of RH on pod and seed yield, harvest index, and flowering of peanut grown by the nutrient film technique (NFT). `Georgia Red' peanut plants (14 days old) were planted into growth channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m). Plants were spaced 25 cm apart with 15 cm between channels. A modified half-Hoagland solution with an additional 2 mm Ca was used. Solution pH was maintained between 6.4 and 6.7, and electrical conductivity (EC) ranged between 1100 and 1200 μS·cm–1. Temperature regimes of 28/22 °C were maintained during the light/dark periods (12 hours each) with photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) at canopy level of 500 μmol·m–2·s–1. Foliage and pod fresh and dry weights, total seed yield, harvest index (HI), and seed maturity were greater at high than at low RH. Plants grown at 85% RH had greater total and individual leaflet area and stomatal conductance, flowered 3 days earlier and had a greater number of flowers reaching anthesis. Gynophores grew more rapidly at 85% than at 50% RH.
The sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] breeding clone TU-82-155 was grown during Spring 1990 and Summer 1991 in standard Tuskegee Univ. (Alabama) growth channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m) for 120 days in a greenhouse using a hydroponic (nutrient film) system with a modified half-strength Hoagland nutrient solution. The nutrient solution was changed every 2, 14, or 28 days. Total N, oil, ash, amino acid, vitamin, and mineral concentrations in storage roots generally were higher and dry weight and starch concentration were lower with 2-day solution changes than with those less frequent.
Greenhouse tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.) producers are urged to reduce their environmental footprint. Here, the suitability of biochar produced from tomato crop green waste as a substrate for soilless, hydroponic tomato production was evaluated. Substrates containing different combinations of biochar (BC) and pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) sawdust (SD) were produced (BC0-SD100, BC25-SD75, BC50-SD50, BC75-SD25, and BC100-SD0) and characterized. The effect of these substrates on tomato growth, yield, and fruit quality was studied. Most of the measured properties of substrates containing biochar were suited to use as a soilless substrate. The electrical conductivity (EC) of substrates containing biochar was initially high (>4.6 mS·cm−1), but was easily reduced to <0.5 mS·cm−1 by rinsing with water before use. The pH of substrates containing biochar was higher than is considered acceptable for tomato production (7.5–9.3) but did not significantly (P < 0.05) affect any plant growth, yield, and fruit quality indicators measured compared with those of plants grown in pine sawdust. The results support the concept of creating a closed loop system whereby biochar produced from tomato crop green waste is used as a substrate for soilless, hydroponic tomato production, providing a sustainable means to support the growth of high-value food crops.
The identification of exceptional genotypes in a breeding program can involve evaluating the responses of large numbers of plants to environmental stress (2). Major hydroponic systems include aerated standing or flowing-nutrient solution, mist, and nutrient film cultures. Flowing solution culture currently provides the most consistent environment for roots, but it is costly and difficult to maintain (1, 3).
Radiation from high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps provided more than a 50% increased yield (fresh and dry weight of tops) of loose-leaf lettuce cultivars Grand Rapids Forcing and Ruby Conn, compared to that obtained by radiation from cool-white fluorescent (CWF) lamps at equal photosynthetic photon flux; yet, input wattage was ≈36% less. It was postulated that the considerable output of 700 to 850 nm radiation from the HPS lamp was a significant factor of the increased yield. Under HPS lamps, the leaves of both cultivars were slightly less green with very little red pigmentation (‘RubyConn’) and slightly elongated, compared to CWF, but plant productivity per unit electrical energy input was vastly superior with HPS.