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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Pittos, Maria C. [1], Dertien, Joseph R. [2].

Optimizing a classroom based, deep water culture hydroponic plant growth system for teaching and undergraduate research.

Hydroponics and indoor gardening as a means of sustainable food production is growing in popularity. However, many students have limited exposure to horticulture and other plant sciences in their high school and undergraduate college experiences. To help increase student interest in this concentration of the sciences, we are developing optimal methods for maintaining a hydroponics system in a typical classroom or laboratory setting. Frequently, “deep water culture” systems run air pumps constantly to ensure sufficient dissolved oxygen (DO) delivery to plants to sustain growth and prevent root rot. Our first objective is to investigate how altering the run time of these pumps will affect DO levels in the plant growth system, and to measure how different run times will affect plant growth. We are studying the effects of dissolved oxygen on the growth of our model plant, red oak leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa) a species commonly grown hydroponically for commercial agriculture. To perform this task, plants were grown under four different treatments (air pump cycles of 24, 12, 8, and 6 hours). Our results indicate that there wasn’t a significant difference in plant growth among treatments as indicated by dry weight of aboveground mass, which suggests that classroom systems may function without disturbing noise levels from air pumps running during instruction time. Preliminary experiments have also offered insight into other factors that may influence the optimization of growth systems such as frequency of cleaning and water change and impact of nutrient and DO levels on algal growth.

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1 - Saint Xavier University, Dertien Lab, 3700 W 103rd Street, Chicago, IL, 60655, USA
2 - Saint Xavier University, Biological Sciences, 3700 W 103rd Street, Chicago, IL, 60655, USA

Dissolved Oxygen.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PTE014
Abstract ID:833
Candidate for Awards:None

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