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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1268: XI International Symposium on Protected Cultivation in Mild Winter Climates and I International Symposium on Nettings and Screens in Horticulture

Effect of the application of a compost tea in the production of baby leaf lettuce in a floating system

Authors:   A. Giménez, C. Egea-Gilabert, J.A. Pascual, M. Ros, J.A. Fernández
Keywords:   Lactuca sativa, hydroponics, nitrate content, sustainable agriculture
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1268.22
Compost derived products, such as compost tea are used as a source of nutrients, improving crop production and allowing a more sustainable production system. The objective of this work was to analyze the effect on plants of a compost tea added to the nutrient solution contained in the flotation beds or applied to plants (grown in the same nutrient solution) by microsprinkler during two growing cycles. To that end, a cultivar of baby leaf red lettuce 'Antoria' was grown in a floating system using styrofloat trays. The compost tea was applied 72 h after sowing, maintaining its application until harvest. The plants were harvested 30 and 25 days after sowing in winter-spring and autumn, respectively. The aerial and radical growth of the plant and some nutritional and anti-nutritional compounds content in the leaves were assessed. The plant height, root total length and diameter were affected by the growing cycle and by the compost tea application type. The application of compost tea in the nutrient solution provided the highest yield in both growing cycles. On the other hand, the application of compost tea by microsprinkler decreased the nitrate content and increased the total phenols content and the antioxidant capacity in both growing cycles. The results of this investigation show that the application of compost tea in the nutrient solution increases lettuce yield while its application by microsprinkler improve lettuce quality.

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