Location: Application Technology Research Unit
Project Number: 3607-21000-011-00
Start Date: Mar 23, 2006
End Date: Dec 09, 2008
Soilless media components such as peat, hydrogels, wetting agents, composts and bio-control agents that represent the range of classes of substrates will be acquired and physical parameters, including but not limited to pH, water holding capacity, structure, and charge will be measured individually as mixtures of media before, during and after production. Plants grown in these mixtures will be evaluated both non-destructively and destructively in terms of growth rates and flower longevity including post-harvest performance in different environments and pot types. Plant growth and development will be evaluated non-destructively with digital cameras and infrared transducters in a range of environments. Research will also evaluate existing sensor technologies including spectroradiometers, digital cameras, and perhaps infrared transducers for macroelements, and explore molecular approaches to identify both broad and specific micro-nutrient stresses. The use of non-essential, beneficial elements such as silica, and essential elements such as potassium and nitrogen will be evaluated for their role in predisposing plants to biotic stress or prevention of biotic and abiotic stress in a wide range of bedding plants in different stages of growth. Plant growth and development will be evaluated at destructive harvests using digital imaging. Uptake and distribution of nutrients will be evaluated with destructive harvests, ICP plant tissue analysis, scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray analysis.