Macronutrient cycling in hydroponic lettuce cultivation
In order to address issues of limited resources and contamination by fertilizers, nutrient solutions may be reused in hydroponics as an alternative to their disposal in the environment. This work evaluated the feasibility of nutrient replacement for the nutrient solutions reused during lettuce hydroponic cultivation. The experiment was carried out in an agricultural greenhouse in an NFT hydroponic system using the “Milena” lettuce cultivar. The experiment was divided into two stages: 1) monitoring and data collection and proposition of nutrient replacement management; and 2) validation of the proposed replacement management. Monitoring the consumption of the crop's nutritional solution in the first stage served as the basis for the proposed nutritional replacement management. Management was validated in the second stage through the evaluation of fresh and dry mass, crop nutritional status, and the amount of the fertilizer applied in the treatments: T1 - nutrient replacement with nutrient solution reuse; and T2 - nutrient replacement without nutrient solution reuse. The fresh and dry mass data and the amount of nutrients absorbed by the plants were submitted to the t-test at 5% probability, showing no significant difference between the treatments, making it possible to conclude that the nutrient solution reuse provided nutrient replacement during the lettuce crop cultivation.
Keywords: hydroponic system, Lactuca sativa L., macronutrient rational use.
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