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- Author or Editor: Chen-Kang Huang x
Hydroponic systems in plant factories can be categorized into recirculating or noncirculating systems. In this study, the effects of various commercially available circulation pumps, including a centrifugal magnetic drive pump, a regenerative self-priming pump, and a submersible pump, were experimentally explored. In addition, the effects of an ultraviolet sterilization system on the ion concentrations in nutrient solutions were examined. The concentrations of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, nitrate, sulfate, and ferric (Fe3+) ions in the nutrient solution were measured. For all three types of pumps, the results indicated that there was no significant effect on the concentrations of ions in the nutrient solution. However, the concentration of Fe3+ ions decreased significantly after the nutrient solution was treated by a ultraviolet sterilization system for 48 hours. In addition, the effects of the three types of pumps on the growth of butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa) were examined. The temperature records during the pump circulation tests showed that the nutrient solution temperature of the regenerative self-priming pump increased by 15.5 °C (from 20.5 to 36 °C), which caused yellow seedling, scorching on the leaves, and browning of the roots. The ion concentration in the nutrient solutions and total fresh weight of butterhead lettuce did not show any noticeable difference between the centrifugal magnetic drive pump and the submersible pump. In this paper, we clarify the cause of the decreasing iron concentration and provide a guideline for selecting the pump for circulating hydroponic systems in plant factories.