Research article Special Issues

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

  • Received: 14 February 2021 Accepted: 08 April 2021 Published: 12 May 2021
  • 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 a 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 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.

    Citation: Bennet Brockhagen, Fabian Schoden, Jan Lukas Storck, Timo Grothe, Christian Eßelmann, Robin Böttjer, Anke Rattenholl, Frank Gudermann. Investigating minimal requirements for plants on textile substrates in low-cost hydroponic systems[J]. AIMS Bioengineering, 2021, 8(2): 173-191. doi: 10.3934/bioeng.2021016

    Related Papers:

  • 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 a 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 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.



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    Acknowledgments



    The project was partly funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in the scope of the ZIM project ZF4036107 and by the HiF fund of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. The APC is funded by the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. We thank Martina Holt and Karl-Josef Dietz for constructive criticism of the manuscript, lending laboratory equipment and for advice on the implementation of the experiments. Furthermore, we thank Anja Storck for her kind support.

    Conflict of interest



    The authors declare no conflict of interest.

    Author contributions



    Bennet Brockhagen: conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, investigation, visualization; Fabian Schoden: conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, investigation, visualization, writing–first draft; Jan Lukas Storck: conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, investigation, visualization; Timo Grothe: conceptualization, investigation, visualization; Christian Eßelmann: investigation, validation; Robin Böttjer: methodology; Anke Rattenholl: validation; Frank Gudermann: validation. All authors read and substantially modified the manuscript.

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