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  • Author or Editor: Kishan Biradar x
  • HortScience x
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Lettuce tipburn is a physiological disorder characterized by marginal necrosis and curling of inner, younger leaves caused by localized calcium deficiency, especially in low evapotranspiration environments that restrict mass flow and thus calcium mobility. Severe tipburn negatively affects the marketability and quality of greenhouse-grown hydroponic lettuce. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of a chemical-based, calcium-mobilizing biostimulant for mitigating lettuce tipburn when applied in hydroponic nutrient solutions. Butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa ‘Rex’) was grown indoors under warm-white light-emitting diodes at a mean photosynthetic photon flux density of 300 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1 for 11 days. Subsequently, we transplanted seedlings into deep-water-culture hydroponic trays in a greenhouse at an air temperature of 24.6 ± 1.2 °C, relative humidity of 76.2% ± 7.4%, and 20-hour photoperiod with supplemental lighting from high-pressure sodium lamps. The plants were grown in nutrient solutions with and without the biostimulant codenamed CC US-2105 at two concentrations (22 and 220 μL⋅L−1). Data were collected from plant samples at three harvests at 14, 21, and 28 days after transplant (DAT). At 14 DAT, there was no tipburn under any treatments. Compared with the control, the biostimulant at 22 μL⋅L−1 increased shoot dry mass by 31%. At 21 DAT, the biostimulant at 220 μL⋅L−1 eliminated tipburn, and the biostimulant increased shoot fresh weight by 28%, irrespective of the concentration. At 28 DAT, despite sufficient calcium in the whole plant and the remaining nutrient solution, severe tipburn still occurred in plants that did not receive the biostimulant (control). Compared with the control, the biostimulant at the higher concentration of 220 μL⋅L−1 decreased the tipburn rating by 88% and the number of leaves with tipburn by 85%, increased the plant diameter by 11%, increased the total leaf number by six, and accumulated higher levels of manganese and zinc. In contrast, these parameters remained unaffected at the lower biostimulant concentration of 22 μL⋅L−1. At 28 DAT, shoot biomass was unaffected by the biostimulant. In conclusion, the calcium-mobilizing biostimulant is an effective strategy to mitigate hydroponic lettuce tipburn without decreasing biomass accumulation in greenhouse conditions.

Open Access