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Study on minimal requirements for plants on textile substrates in low-cost hydroponic systems

With a growing world population and the concentration of citizens in big cities, new methods of agriculture are required. Vertical farming attracts more attention in mending these growing problems. To enable widespread use of low-cost hydroponic systems, this study investigates minimal requirements for plants (different herbs and vegetables) in such a hydroponic vertical farming system and the suitability of textiles as sustainable substrates.

Therefore, this study aims to investigate plant stress levels, germination rates, and water usage in a low-cost hydroponic system with no special lightning in principle comparison with indoor cultivation in soil. The results of the pulse-amplitude-modulation (PAM) measurements as a measure of photosynthetic performance indicate that the plants were equally stressed in hydroponic and in soil cultivation. In this respect, the photosynthetic quantum yield in both cultivation systems is on average only slightly lower than the values expected under optimal conditions.

It was observed that chive and lovage not only had a significantly higher germination rate in the hydroponic system but also accumulated significantly more fresh as well as dry biomass, while spinach, thyme, and marjoram showed higher germination rates in soil cultivation. The water consumption in the setup was considerably higher for the hydroponic system compared to indoor soil cultivation.

Read the complete research at

Brockhagen, Bennet & Schoden, Fabian & Storck, Jan & Grothe, Timo & Eßelmann, Christian & Böttjer, Robin & Rattenholl, Anke & Gudermann, Frank. (2021). Investigating minimal requirements for plants on textile substrates in low-cost hydroponic systems. 173-191. 10.3934/bioeng.2021016. 

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