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  • Author or Editor: Azeezahmed Shaik x
  • HortScience x
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Recent studies suggest that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have the potential to improve the growth and yield of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) under soil-based organic production systems. However, the application of AMF in organic soilless vegetable production in a greenhouse has not been well studied, creating an important knowledge gap. Therefore, two greenhouse experiments [Experiment 1 (E1) and Experiment 2 (E2)] were conducted to investigate the effect of AMF (Glomus spp.) on the growth, gaseous exchange, and yield of eggplant fertilized with various liquid organic fertilizers (OFs) and inorganic fertilizers (IFs) in a soilless greenhouse production system. The experiment was conducted in a split-plot design with four replications in which liquid OFs [OF1 (5N–1P–1K), OF2 (0N–5P–5K and 3N–3P–3K), OF3 (3N–1P–1K), OF4 (5N–1P–2K), OF5 (3.7N–2.7P–3.7K), and OF6 (3N–3P–5K)], and IFs [IF1 (6N–4P–4K) and IF2 (4N–0P–1K and 1N–3P–5K)] were randomized as main plot factor, and AMF [inoculated and uninoculated (control)] as a subplot factor. Results indicate that AMF inoculation had no significant effect on the growth, gaseous exchange, and yield parameters of eggplant. Among different OFs, the eggplant fertilized with OF6 resulted in a 4.3% and 3% reduction of leaf area compared with top-performing IF1 treatment in E1 and E2, respectively. Further, the OF6 treatment resulted in a 12% and 15% reduction in total yield per plant compared with IF1 in E1 and E2, respectively. The differences in plant gaseous exchange parameters were also nonsignificant for eggplants fertilized with different OF and IF treatments in both E1 and E2. These results conclude that Glomus spp. were not associated with a significant increase in the yield of eggplant in the soilless production system. However, OFs were performing similar to IFs in terms of growth and yield, which could be due to a higher nutrient availability of these OFs, which are highly useful for the production of eggplant in greenhouse soilless production systems.

Open Access

Demand for locally produced, organically grown leafy greens is increasing throughout the United States. However, due to lack of efficient organic fertilizers (OFs) for soilless substrates, organic greenhouse production of leafy greens may be challenging. Therefore, a greenhouse study was conducted to analyze the effects of six liquid OFs on growth and development of lettuce in a soilless system. Two experiments were conducted using a randomized block design, and treatments included six fish- or plant-based OFs: OF1 (5N–1P–1K), OF2 (2N–5P–1K), OF3 (3N–1P–1K), OF4 (2N–2P–2K), OF5 (4N–1P–1K), and OF6 (3N–3P–2K); one inorganic fertilizer treatment (IF, 24N–8P–16K); and one unfertilized control treatment. Fertilizer solutions were prepared at 2 dS⋅m–1 and applied at 100 mL/plant. In Expt. 1, fresh biomass for IF-treated plants was 12% to 38% greater than OF treatments, whereas this difference ranged from 25% to 57% in Expt. 2. Similarly, leaf area values of IF-treated plants were 5% to 40% greater than OF treatments in Expt. 1, and the difference ranged from 28% to 90% in Expt. 2. A possible explanation could be greater availability of nutrients in the IF treatment compared with OF treatments. There was no significant difference among fertilized treatments for number of leaves and stem diameter. Based on the index-based ranking, fish-based (OF1) and fish- and plant-based (OF2 and OF6) performed well among different liquid OFs used in the study. Although the yield under OFs was less compared with that under IF, there is potential to reduce this yield gap by optimized fertility management of these fertilizers. Future research is needed to investigate the impact of optimized rate, timing, different placement, and additional nitrogen (N) sources of OFs on the soilless production of lettuce.

Open Access