NUTRIENT PROPERTIES IN HYDROPONICS

NUTRIENT PROPERTIES

Each of the elements essential for plant growth perform a distinct function in the metabolism process. Their fundamental properties will be described in the following paragraphs.

Nitrate-Ammonium: These ions provide nitrogen and are usually found in low concentrations in ground water. Levels above 10 ppm are undesirable for drinking water. Most plants can utilize levels between 100 and 200 ppm.

Nitrogen is found in both inorganic and organic forms in the plant and combines with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and sometimes sulfur to form amino acids, amino enzymes, nucleic acids, chlorophyll, alkaloids, and purine bases. Nitrogen rates high as molecular weight proteins in plant tissue. Deficiencies exhibit slow growing, weak and stunted plants with light green to yellow older leaves. Quality and yield will be significantly reduced. Excess conditions will be dark green and succulent with breakdown of vascular tissue restricting water uptake. Stress resistance is drastically diminished.

Silicon usually exists in solution as silicic acid and is absorbed in this form. It accumulates as hydrated amorphous silica most abundantly in walls of epidermal cells, but also in primary and secondary walls of other cells. It is largely available in soils and is found in water as well. Inadequate amounts of silicon can reduce tomato yields as much as 50%, cause new leaves to be deformed and inhibit fruit set. At this time toxicity symptoms are undetermined.

Water Hardness is an indication of the calcium and magnesium content. Moderately hard water, 100 to 150 mg. CaCO3/ titer is desirable for plant growth. If the water is very soft, less than 50 mg., you may need to provide supplemental calcium and magnesium.

Potassium Phosphate: These essential plant macronutrients normally occur in very low concentratons – in water. If the water contains more than a few ppm of these elements there is a possibility that your water may contain fertilizer, detergent or other contaminants.
Potassim is involved in maintaining the water status of the plant and the tugor pressure of its cells and the opening and closing of the stomata. Potassium is required in the accumulation and translocation of carbohydrates. Lack of potassium will reduce yield and quality. Older leaves will be scorched on edges. Plant will become susceptible to disease and toxicity. Excesses will interfere with magnesium and calcium availability.

Phosphorus is a component of certain enzymes and proteins, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), ribonucleic acids (RNA), deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) and phytin ATP is involved in various energy transfer reactions, and RNA and DNA are components of genetic information. Deficiencies exhibit slow growing, weak and stunted plants with dark green or purple pigmentation in older leaves and stems. Excess wilt enterfere with iron and zinc stability in solution.

CALCIUM – MAGNESIUM – SULFATE: These ions may be present in high levels in ground water. It is important to consider these values when adding nutrient supplements. Calcium plays an important role in maintaining cell integrity and membrane permeability. Deficiency will cause root tip dieback, leave tip curl and marginal necrosis and chlorosis primarily in younger leaves. Blossom end rot and internal decay may also occur. Excess calcium may produce deficiencies in magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium is a component of the chlorophyll molecule and serves as a cofactor in most enzymes. Deficiency will exhibit a yellowing and interveinal chlorosis beginning in the older leaves. Extreme high levels will antagonize other ions in the nutrient solution.

Sulfate is involved in protein synthesis and is part of the amino acids, cystine and thiamine, which are the building blocks of proteins. It is active in the structure and metabolism in the plant. It is essential for respiration and the synthesis and breakdown of fatty acids. Sulfur deficiencies are light green fruit or younger laves with a lack of succulence. Elongated roots and woody stem. Excess may cause early senescence.

Sodium Chloride: If the water contains high levels of chloride, it will usually have high levels of sodium, however, the reverse is not true. Many waters can contain significant amounts of sodium without containing high levels of chloride.

Sodium seems to encourage crop yields and in specific cases it acts as an antidoting agent against various toxic salts. It may act as a partial substitute for potassium deficiencies. Excess may cause plant toxicity or induce deficiencies of other elements. If sodium predominates in the solution calcium and magnesium may be affected.

Chloride is involved in the evolution of oxygen in the photosynthesis process and is essential for cell osmotic pressure and affects stomatal regulation and increases the hydration of plant tissue. Levels less than 140 ppm are safe for most plants. Chloride sensitive plants may experience tip or marginal leaf burn at concentrations above 20 ppm. Plants with chlorine deficiencies will be pale and suffer wilting. Excesses will cause burning of tips and margins, and bronzing and abscission of the leaves.

NUTRIENT PROPERTIES

Each of the elements essential for plant growth perform a distinct function in the metabolism process. Their fundamental properties will be described in the following paragraphs.

Nitrate-Ammonium: These ions provide nitrogen and are usually found in low concentrations in ground water. Levels above 10 ppm are undesirable for drinking water. Most plants can utilize levels between 100 and 200 ppm.

Nitrogen is found in both inorganic and organic forms in the plant and combines with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and sometimes sulfur to form amino acids, amino enzymes, nucleic acids, chlorophyll, alkaloids, and purine bases. Nitrogen rates high as molecular weight proteins in plant tissue. Deficiencies exhibit slow growing, weak and stunted plants with light green to yellow older leaves. Quality and yield will be significantly reduced. Excess conditions will be dark green and succulent with breakdown of vascular tissue restricting water uptake. Stress resistance is drastically diminished.

Silicon usually exists in solution as silicic acid and is absorbed in this form. It accumulates as hydrated amorphous silica most abundantly in walls of epidermal cells, but also in primary and secondary walls of other cells. It is largely available in soils and is found in water as well. Inadequate amounts of silicon can reduce tomato yields as much as 50%, cause new leaves to be deformed and inhibit fruit set. At this time toxicity symptoms are undetermined.

Water Hardness is an indication of the calcium and magnesium content. Moderately hard water, 100 to 150 mg. CaCO3/ titer is desirable for plant growth. If the water is very soft, less than 50 mg., you may need to provide supplemental calcium and magnesium.

Potassium Phosphate: These essential plant macronutrients normally occur in very low concentratons – in water. If the water contains more than a few ppm of these elements there is a possibility that your water may contain fertilizer, detergent or other contaminants.
Potassim is involved in maintaining the water status of the plant and the tugor pressure of its cells and the opening and closing of the stomata. Potassium is required in the accumulation and translocation of carbohydrates. Lack of potassium will reduce yield and quality. Older leaves will be scorched on edges. Plant will become susceptible to disease and toxicity. Excesses will interfere with magnesium and calcium availability.

Phosphorus is a component of certain enzymes and proteins, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), ribonucleic acids (RNA), deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) and phytin ATP is involved in various energy transfer reactions, and RNA and DNA are components of genetic information. Deficiencies exhibit slow growing, weak and stunted plants with dark green or purple pigmentation in older leaves and stems. Excess wilt enterfere with iron and zinc stability in solution.

CALCIUM – MAGNESIUM – SULFATE: These ions may be present in high levels in ground water. It is important to consider these values when adding nutrient supplements. Calcium plays an important role in maintaining cell integrity and membrane permeability. Deficiency will cause root tip dieback, leave tip curl and marginal necrosis and chlorosis primarily in younger leaves. Blossom end rot and internal decay may also occur. Excess calcium may produce deficiencies in magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium is a component of the chlorophyll molecule and serves as a cofactor in most enzymes. Deficiency will exhibit a yellowing and interveinal chlorosis beginning in the older leaves. Extreme high levels will antagonize other ions in the nutrient solution.

Sulfate is involved in protein synthesis and is part of the amino acids, cystine and thiamine, which are the building blocks of proteins. It is active in the structure and metabolism in the plant. It is essential for respiration and the synthesis and breakdown of fatty acids. Sulfur deficiencies are light green fruit or younger laves with a lack of succulence. Elongated roots and woody stem. Excess may cause early senescence.

Sodium Chloride: If the water contains high levels of chloride, it will usually have high levels of sodium, however, the reverse is not true. Many waters can contain significant amounts of sodium without containing high levels of chloride.

Sodium seems to encourage crop yields and in specific cases it acts as an antidoting agent against various toxic salts. It may act as a partial substitute for potassium deficiencies. Excess may cause plant toxicity or induce deficiencies of other elements. If sodium predominates in the solution calcium and magnesium may be affected.

Chloride is involved in the evolution of oxygen in the photosynthesis process and is essential for cell osmotic pressure and affects stomatal regulation and increases the hydration of plant tissue. Levels less than 140 ppm are safe for most plants. Chloride sensitive plants may experience tip or marginal leaf burn at concentrations above 20 ppm. Plants with chlorine deficiencies will be pale and suffer wilting. Excesses will cause burning of tips and margins, and bronzing and abscission of the leaves.

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