|Authors: ||M. Dorais, A.P. Papadopoulos, X. Luo, S. Leonhart, A. Gosselin, K. Pedneault, P. Angers, L. Gaudreau|
|Keywords: ||Inula helenium, Taraxacum officinalis, Valeriana officinalis, Artemisia vulgaris, Tanacetum parthenium, Calendula officinalis, Achillea millefolium, Borago officinalis, Stellaria media, hydroponics, floating raft system, deep pool system, mobile floats|
During the last few years, the use of medicinal plants as an alternative to traditional medicine has soared considerably.
In 1991, nearly 34% of North Americans were advocates of alternative medicine and more than 80% believed in the therapeutic benefits of medicinal plants.
This industry has grown up by 60% over the last two years and now generates yearly sales of more than 10 billion US$ in North America and 40 billion US$ worldwide (1996). The demand for some plant species largely exceeds the offer and supply for good quality products can be a serious problem.
Soilless greenhouse cultivation of medicinal plants would thus allow growers to market very high quality products, year around, in a pesticide free environment.
For different plant species, the main objectives of this study were to evaluate the potential growth of medicinal plants using a floating raft growing system and evaluate their profitability.
Our results showed that most medicinal plants studied were well adapted to the floating raft system.
After 50-120 days, root dry weight of Achillea millefolium, Artemisia vulgaris, Inula helenium, Stellaria media, Taraxacum officinalis, and Valeriana officinalis, was 11.4, 1.8, 7.8, 6.6, 3.3 and 4.4 times higher, respectively, in the floating raft system compared to field growing plants.
Also, the shoot dry weight of hydroponic growing plants were 22.9, 3.6, 12.7, 1.9, 13.7 and 15.2 times higher, respectively, than field-grown plants.
Yield are presented and compared to field growing plants.
Results are discussed in terms of production potential for greenhouse medicinal plants and quality product.
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader (free software to read PDF files)