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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 554: World Congress on Soilless Culture: Agriculture in the Coming Millennium

INFLUENCE OF POLYACRYLAMIDE ON PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF A PEAT-PERLITE MIX AND ON THE GROWTH OF ARGYRANTHEMUM CORONOPIFOLIUM

Authors:   F.X. Martínez, F. Contreras, N. López
Keywords:   hydrogel, growing medium, shoot water potential, container water content, available water, not easily available water, biomass partitioning
Abstract:
A fibrous peat-perlite 2:1v/v mix, containing a controlled-release fertilizer, was amended with the polyacrylamide Alcosorb AB3C at rates of 0, 1, 2.5, 5 and 10 g/l. Physical properties of initial mixes were not significantly influenced at low and intermediate rates. Polyacrylamide addition at the highest rate (10g/l) decreased dry bulk density and air content and increased total pore space, water retained at suctions of 1, 5 and 10 kPa and not easily available water. Polyacrylamide did not affect available water content. Media analysis after four months of Argyranthemum coronopifolium culture indicated that the initial effects on physical properties had disappeared. Relative water content of containers with plants after irrigation and drainage increased with increasing rates of polyacrylamide; this effect was progressively decreasing and became undetectable after a culture period of two months. Laboratory and greenhouse results indicated that polyacrilamide physical effects were transitory. Shoot water potential was higher in treated plants than in control plants. Biomass partitioning at the end of culture showed noticeable effects. Shoot and total biomass was not significantly affected by polyacrylamide but treated plants showed an increase on root dry weight and a decrease in the shoot to root ratio. This response could have an interest for improving the aptitude of treated plants to be transplanted in habitats affected by soil drought.
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