Soilless Culture for Horticultural Crops

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Soilless Culture for Horticultural Crops 1 Speaker: Arvind Kumar Verma M.Sc. Horticulture Chairperson: Dr. K.V. Prasad INDIAN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEW DELHI-110 012

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The technology was first reported in scientific literature in 1600 (Weir, 1991) Woodword grew mint plants without soil in England in 1669 The term “hydroponics” was proposed by Setchell, based on the Greek word hydro (water) and ponos (working) Gericke was first person who used the term ‘hydroponics’ in 1929 Nutrient solution was first developed by Sachs and Knap in 1938 In India hydroponics was first introduced at Kalimpong in Darjeeling (W. B.) in 1947 Cooper et al . developed the NFT in 1966 Jensen and Collins developed Aeroponics in 1985 Historical Background 2

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3 Better quality produce No soil borne diseases and pests Continuous cultivation is possible Efficient use of available resources No need of weeding and soil fumigation More productivity per unit area and time Cultivation of crops are possible in saline and desert area One can grow the crops who do not have their own field Advantage:

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Country Year Area (ha) Media/System Major Crop Grown Reference Netherlands 2001 10,000 Rockwool Tomato, Lettuce, Cucumber Muskmelons, Cauliflower, Carnation, Gerbera , Chrysanthemum, Strawberry Hassall et al . (2001) Spain 2001 4000 Perlite, Sand, Rockwool Tamato, Lettuce, Cucumber, Capsicum Hassall et al . (2001) Canada 2001 2000 Perlite, and Rockwool Tamato, Cucumber, Capsicum Bradley et al. (2001) China 2005 1250 NFT, DFT, Rockwool Tamato, Cucumber, Lettuce, Roses, Chrysanthemum, Carnation Jiang et al. (2007) France 1996 1000 Rockwool Tamato, Cucumber, Capsicum, Cut flowerws Donnan , (1998) World Soilless Culture Production Systems and Crops Grown 4

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5 Growing Media Organic media Inorganic media Natural media Synthetic media 1. Sawdust 2. Cocopeat 3. Peat 4. Woodchips 5. Pleece 6. Marc 7. Bark 1. Vermiculite 2. Gravel 3. Rockwool 4. Perlite 5. Sand 6. Glasswool 7. Pumice 8. Zeolite 9.Sepiolite 1. Hydrogel 2. Foam mates ( Polyurethane ) 3. Oasis ( Plastic foam ) Soilless Culture Media Olympios, (2002)

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6 Fairly constant in volume Free from weed seed, nematodes and soil born diseases Having proper drainage and aeration. Sufficient nutrients Low in soluble salts but adequate CEC Biologically and chemically stable on sterilization Characteristics of media Precautions The pH of solution should be maintained between 5.2 to 6.5 Thermocol is used as a supporting material Iron is applied in the form of chelating agent The ph should be maintained by using HCl and KOH Soilless Culture Media

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Peat Perlite Vermiculite Peat: It is remains of aquatic marsh bog or swamp vegetation in partial decomposed state. It has high moisture holding capacity. Cocopeat: It is by product of coconut husk. Cocopeat is best for providing aeration. Perlite: It is grey-white silicacious material of volcanic origin It is neutral in ph. Vermiculite: This is a micaceous mineral. Chemically it is a hydrated magnesium –aluminum iron silicate. Hydrogel: Szmit and Graham (1989) reported the use of hydrogel as a growing media. Plants in presence of hydrogel tolerate all levels of salinity. Rockwool: It is produced by burning a mixture of cock, basalt and limestone. Coco peat Hydrogel Rockwool Coco peat 7 Contd…

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Crops to Grow in Soilless Culture Vegetables: Tomato, Lettuce, Cucumber, Muskmelon, Brinjal, Beet, Winged bean, Capsicum, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Radish etc. Flowers: Gerbera, Rose, Orchid, Anthurium, Marigold, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Lily etc. Fruits: Strawberry, Raspberry Singh et al . (2006) 8

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9 Requirement: Protected structure High yielding hybrid varieties Soilless media Multicelled plastic plug-trays Fertigation system Seedling Raising for Soilless Culture

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Treatment Shoot length (cm) Root length (cm) Leaf area (cm 2 ) Stem diameter (mm) True no. of leaves/see- dling Total cost of 100 seedlings (Rs) Inverted pyramid shaped cells (8.6 cm 3 ) 9.1 3.3 15.2 1.9 2.1 45.4 Inverted pyramid shaped cells (18.4 cm 3 ) 8.8 3.6 26.7 2.9 2.8 54 Round shaped cells (20.6 cm 3 ) 9.0 2.8 13.7 2.1 2.2 57.4 Round shaped cells (68.2 cm 3 ) 8.9 3.8 28.6 3.1 3.0 88.8 Effect of plug-tray cell size and shape on quality of soilless tomato seedlings Singh et al. (2007) 10

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11 Type of Soilless Culture Solution culture Root Dipping Technique Aeroponics Soilless Culture Diver et al. (2000) Circulating methods Non-circulating method Nutrient film technique Deep flow technique Capillary action technique Floating technique Hanging bag technique Grow bag technique Trench or trough technique Pot technique Solid Media Culture

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Solution Culture CIRCULATING METHODS Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) A thin film of nutrient solution flows through channels Bare roots continuously bathed in a flowing nutrient solution At lower end of the channels nutrient solution gets collected and flows to the nutrient solution tank. Flow rate of the nutrient solution to 2-3 litres per minute Channel Timer Submersible pump Solution container Sieve 12

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13 Nutrient solution flows 2-3 cm deep through 10 cm diameter PVC pipes Plastic pots contain planting materials and their bottoms touch the nutrient solution that flows in the pipes Arranged the potted plants in one plane or in zig zag shape Zigzag system utilizes the space efficiently but suitable for low growing crops Deep Flow Technique (DFT) nutrient solution stock tank Drainage pipe Pump PVC pipe Delivery tube Input = uptake

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Non-Circulating Methods Root Dipping Technique: Plants grown in small pots filled with little growing medium Lower 2–3 cm of the pots is submerged in the nutrient solution Some roots are dipped in the solution while others hang in the air above the solution for nutrient and air absorption respectively Floating Technique: Shallow containers (10 cm deep) can be used Fixed to a Styrofoam sheet or any other light plate on container Allowed to float Styrofoam sheet on the nutrient solution filled in the container Solution is artificially aerated Capillary Action Technique: Nutrient solution reaches in inert medium by capillary action This technique is suitable for ornamentals flowers and indoor plants Benton et al . (2005) Roots Nutrient absorbing roots Nutrient solution Hole for air passage and refilling Container 14

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Crop Place Salient finding Reference Tomato France “Shier filter” is a dynamic filtration system , control the diseases caused by microorganisms. Deniel et al. (2006) Lily Jordan Urea above 296 mg/L reduced flower bud length and weight. Daood et al. (2007) Strawberry Italy Fruit yield, quality and fruit average weight were highest at EC 2.5 mS cm -1 . Anna et al. (2003) Lettuce Spain The oxyfertigation technique has improve rhizosphere oxygen availability in plants by supplying dissolved oxygen in the irrigation water Marfa et al. (2005) Salient findings of solution culture 15

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Comparison Between Hydroponic and Conventional Production System Hassall et al. (2001) ML=Megalitre (10,000 litres) Crop Water Application (ML/ha/crop) Hydroponic Production Conventional Production Lettuce 1.0 ML 4.0 ML Tomato 1.5 ML 7.5 ML 16

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UNDP , (2000) COST (US$) Celery Pepper Lettuce Cucumber Radish Tomato Total cost/m 2 2.31 2.87 1.67 2.12 1.82 2.84 Net Income/m 2 28.55 14.25 40.26 5.28 33.03 25.15 Income and expenses for producing hydroponic vegetables / sq. m area 17

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Parameter Hydroponics Field conditions No. of fruits/plant 64 38 Yield/plant (kg) 2.05 1.2 Yield (q/ha) 820 480 Days to fruit ripening 58 62 Pant et al . (2005) Yield of tomato under hydroponics and field conditions 18

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Fertilizer and grade Tomato solution A B Cucumber solution A B Seedlings to fruit set Fruit set to harvest of crop Seedlings to fruit set Fruit set to harvest of crop g/1000litre g/1000 litre g/1000 litre g/1000 litre Magnesium Sulfate 500 500 500 500 Potassium Nitrate (13.75-0-36.9) 270 270 270 270 Monopotassium Phosphat ( 0-22.5-28.0) 270 270 270 270 Potassium Sulphate (0-0-43.3) 100 100 _ _ Calcium Nitrate (15.5-0-0) 500 680 680 1357 Nutrient solution formula for closed systems Charles, (2002) 19

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Micronutrient formula for closed systems Salt Element supplied ppm of element Grams of each micronutrient Boric Acid B 0.44 7.50 Mangnese Chloride Mn 0.62 6.75 Cupric Chloride Cu 0.05 0.37 Molybdenum Trioxide Mo 0.03 0.15 Zinc Sulphate Zn 0.09 1.18 20 Contd …

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21 Hanging Bag Technique: 1 m long cylinder shaped, white colour in outside and black in inside thick polythene bags, filled with sterilized media and sealed at the bottom end and tied at the top small PVC pipe Bags, suspended vertically in nutrient solution Planting materials squeezed into holes on the sides of the hanging bags Grow Bag Technique: Bags are placed end to end horizontally in rows on the floor Make two small slits low on each side of the bags for drainage Fertigation with black capillary tube Pot Technique: Growing media is filled in clay or plastic pots Nutrient supply by drip system Benton et al. (2005) Solid Media Culture or Aggregate System

Trench or Trough Technique::

22 Trench or Trough Technique: Plants are grown in narrow trenches in the ground constructed with bricks or concrete blocks Trenches and troughs lined with waterproof material Depth of trough at least 30 cm Irrigation by drip system or manual application Pipe of 2.5 cm diameter placed at the bottom for drainage Trench filed with growing medium Drainage pipe Polythene film Contd …

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Crop Place Salient finding Reference Tomato Iran Stem diameter of tomato with sawdust higher than in those supplemented with perlite . Delshad, (2006) Anthurium Italy Cheers the longest (averaging 72 cm) and Choco the shortest (56 cm on average). Cristiano et al. (2007) Rose Netherlands Red France and Dallas gave the highest cut flower yield i.e. 24.8 and 24.1 flowers per plant, respectively. Fascella et al. (2007) Grape Italy Higher quality, berry yields, 20 days earlier harvesting and extended the harvesting compared to conventional greenhouse culture. Lorenzo et al. (2005) Salient findings in aggregate system 23

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24 Aeroponics Method of growing plants where they are anchored in holes of Styrofoam panels and their roots are suspended in air beneath the panel The nutrient solution is sprayed in fine mist form to the roots of plants Misting system

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Crop Place Salient finding Reference Pototo Spain Increased in vegetative growth and delayed tuber formation Ritter et al. (2001) Orchid Netherlands Maximizing plant density per square meter than the hydroponics. Medany et al . (2003) Salient findings in aeroponics 25

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Comparison of soilless culture and geoponics of carnation in greenhouse Parameter Soilless culture Geoponics Stem length (cm) 96.11 80.74 Stem diameter (cm) 4.66 5.06 No. of nods/stem 10.15 8.28 Stem weight ( gr ) 40.60 42.68 Flower diameter (mm) 66.26 67.72 Vase life (days) 10.3 10.3 Yield (stems/ m 2 ) 235 165 26 Gavilan et al. (2005)

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Cost Factors Hydroponic Soil cultivation Single Crop Double Crop Labour/Operating 4,692 15,602 8,455 Materials 25,844 28,604 14,553 Total 30,536 44,211 23,008 Yield (kg/acre) 23,008 36,423 20,235 Adjusted Cost ($/kg) 1.30 1.21 1.14 Cost of hydroponics vs. soil cultivation (sterilized with methyl bromide) for strawberry cultivation ($/acre/year) Paranjpe et al. (2003) 27

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Crop Pathogen Tomato Clavibacter michiganensis Erwinia spp., Pseudomonas solanacearum Cucumber Fusarium oxysporum Pythium aphanidermatum Anthurium Phytophthora parasitica Gerbera Phytophthora cryptogea Pythium spp. Strawberry Leaf blight and Verticillium spp. Important pathogens in soilless culture Ferrin et al . (2007) 28

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Disease management in soilless culture Phytosanitary measures: Ultrafiltration : Fusarium lycopersici Verticullium alboatrum Biological control: Phytophthora cryptogea of gerbera and P. nicotianae of carnation supress in the presence of Trichoderma Heat sterilization: Pythium dissotocum Pythium aphanidermatum ( Ferrin et al ., 2007) 29

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30 Slight mistake can end up the crop Less awareness among people about this technology High capital investment and require technical knowledge for management Hydroponics is not a suitable production system for all horticultural crops Limitations:

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31 Efficient utilization of inputs No soil borne diseases and pests An alternative of soil fumigation No need to depend on farm land Production can be increased manifold Product quality meets the international standards Production of high value horticultural crops on a sustainable basis CONCLUSION

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Thank You 32