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  • Author or Editor: Tadashi Ito x
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Commercial transplant production in Japan has been increasing rapidly since 1985. Transplant production began with plug seedlings for bedding plants, followed by carnation and Chrysanthemum plug transplants vegetatively-propagated using cuttings. Next, production more recently includes plug seedlings of lettuce and cabbage, and micropropagated tubers of potato plants and grafted transplants of tomato, eggplant, cucumber, and watermelon plants. The reasons for the rapid increase in commercial production of transplants will be reviewed. The current “cutting edge” practices include hardening before shipping or planting. The pros and cons of current transplant production systems in Japan will be discussed. Recent research advances in production of micropropagated, grafted and seedling transplants are reviewed with special reference to environmental control for hardening or acclimatization. Research on robotic or automated systems for micropropagation, grafting, and transplanting currently developed in Japan are described.

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Characterization of physico-chemical properties of ecologically sound unprocessed coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) coir and carbonated rice husk in relation to rockwool were investigated to examine the crop performance along with productivity of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). In all substrates, the water-filled pore space and water-holding capacity were larger and air-filled pore space was smaller. Bulk densities, water-holding capacity, and water-filled, air-filled, and total pore spaces were lower in carbonated rice husk than coconut coir and rockwool. These values in coconut coir and carbonated rice husk were increased by use. Most of the physical properties, EC, pH, and inorganic elements, of these natural organic substrates were within appropriate levels as growing media. There were little differences in plant height, stem diameter, percent fruit set, harvest index, ascorbic acid, total soluble solid, fruit pH, and leaf chlorophyll ratio. But, number of nodes, internode length, leaf number and area, days to first anthesis, flower number, and fruit number and weight differed significantly among treatments. There was smaller fluctuation in absolute growth rate, relative growth rate, net assimilate rate, and leaf area ratio among the treatments. It appeared that carbonated rice husk and the coconut coir gave better crop performance than rockwool under moderate high temperatures (30 and 35 °C compared to 25 °C). Furthermore, crop productivity from the organic substrate coconut coir and carbonated rice husk gave more profit than that of rockwool. Thus, carbonated rice husk and coconut coir substrates can be used successfully as a bag culture media amendment for producing vegetables, especially in tropical and subtropical areas.

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