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Excess nutrients in hydroponic solutions alter nutrient content of rice, wheat, and potato.

Authors
  • McKeehen, J D1
  • Mitchell, C A
  • Wheeler, R M
  • Bugbee, B
  • Nielsen, S S
  • 1 NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Advances in Space Research
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
1996
Volume
18
Issue
4-5
Pages
73–83
Identifiers
PMID: 11538817
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Environment has significant effects on the nutrient content of field-grown crop plants. Little is known, however, about compositional changes caused by controlled environments in which plants receive only artificial radiation and soilless, hydroponic culture. This knowledge is essential for developing a safe, nutritious diet in a Controlled Ecological Life-Support System (CELSS). Three crops that are candidates for inclusion in a CELSS (rice, wheat, and white potato) were grown both in the field and in controlled environments where the hydroponic nutrient solution, photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), and CO2 level were manipulated to achieve rapid growth rates. Plants were harvested at maturity, separated into discrete parts, and dried prior to analysis. Plant materials were analyzed for proximate composition (protein, fat, ash, and carbohydrate), total nitrogen (N), nitrate, minerals, and amino-acid composition. The effect of environment on nutrient content varied by crop and plant part. Total N and nonprotein N (NPN) contents of plant biomass generally increased under controlled-environment conditions compared to field conditions, especially for leafy plant parts and roots. Nitrate levels were increased in hydroponically-grown vegetative tissues, but nitrate was excluded from grains and tubers. Mineral content changes in plant tissue included increased phosphorus and decreased levels of certain micronutrient elements under controlled-environment conditions. These findings suggest that cultivar selection, genetic manipulation, and environmental control could be important to obtain highly nutritious biomass in a CELSS.

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