Electrical conductivity of the growing media or drainage indicates the nutritional conditions in the cultivation system. However, the nutrient uptake phenomenon has not been related well to the soilless culture system.
In a recent study, there is reported on the design, theoretical analyses, and verification of a method for an online indicator related to plant nutritional aspects. Models for simulating nutrient and water transport in a porous medium were constructed for analyses of the nutrient uptake estimation method.
In simulation analyses, we summarized the theoretical relationships between flow rates of total nutrients in a substrate and nutrient uptake. For concept validation, we conducted a greenhouse experiment for correlation analysis with the growth of tomato plants, conventional nutrient, and water management indicators, and developed online indicators related to plant nutritional aspects.
Onsite application of the indicator showed a higher correlation with tomato yield than conventional management indicators, such as transpiration, irrigation, drainage ratio, leaching fraction, and electrical conductivity of drainage. In addition, to assess the usability of a nutrient uptake indicator as an onsite decision-making technique, data normalization was conducted. Through this, the time series responsiveness of a nutrient uptake indicator to the yield change was confirmed.