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SOILESS CULTURE OF HORTICULTURE CROPS LABORATORY REPORT

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

Arghya Narendra Dianastya (5620000087)

FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE DEPARTEMENT OF AGRONOMY KASETSART UNIVERSITY

I. INTRODUCTION The nutrient film technique (NFT) was developed during the late 1960's by Dr Allan Cooper at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in the U.K. Nutrient film technique (NFT) is a hydroponic technique using a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is re-circulated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight gully, also known as channels. In an ideal system, the depth of the recirculating stream should be very shallow, little more than a film of water, hence the name 'nutrient film'. Subsequent to this, an abundant supply of oxygen is provided to the roots of the plants. A properly designed NFT system is based on using the right channel slope, the right flow rate, and the right channel length. The main advantage of the NFT system over other forms of hydroponics is that the plant roots are exposed to adequate supplies of water, oxygen and nutrients. NFT, because of its design, provides a system using all three requirements for healthy plant growth can be met at the same time, provided that the simple concept of NFT is always remembered and practiced. The key requirements in achieving a nutrient film situation are described by Cooper (1996) as being: 1. To ensure that the gradient down which the water flows is uniform and not subject to localized depressions, not even a depression of a few millimeters. 2. The inlet flow rate must not be so rapid that a considerable depth of water flows down the gradient. 3. The width of the channels in which the roots are confined must be adequate to avoid any damming up of the nutrient by the root mat. If inadequate, it is to be expected that yields will be directly proportional to channel width. 4. The base of the channel must be flat and not curved, because there will be a considerable depth of liquid along the center of a channel with a curved base, merely because of the shape of the base. 5. The length of gully. The total lengthof NFT gully depend on the nubmer of gully connecting together. The length of standard NFT gully is 6 m. The longer the gully, the higher the plant number and the more nutrient and oxygen are consumed. Hence, the length of the gully should not be too long until the plant near the lower end are subjected to nutrient and oxygen stress. 6. The solution flow rate. The flow rate can affect the nutrient flow speed by which the higher the flow rate, the faster the flow speed and as the consequence, the faster

the plant root receives the fresh nutrient solution. The recommended flow rate for NFT system is 2-3 L/ min oer gully.

(nutrient film technique picture)

II. OBJECTIVES

1. To familiar the student with the operation of NFT system. 2. To familiar the student with lettuce growing by NFT system. 3. To familiar students with some factor that can affet letuce growth in nFT

III. METHODE

Exercise I 1. Preparation of NFT table system. a. Sterilization of system: clean the gully and nutrient tank with detergentto remove the dust. Add 1 liter of haiter solution per 100 l of water before circulating the water in the system for 1 hr. Wash the system again 2-3 times with clean water. b. Check the flow of water in the system. c. Preparation the nutrient solution. Prepare the enshis nutrient solution with the specified concentration using the technique in laboratory 4. d. Adjust the pH of nutrient to 6. e. Adjust the flow rate using the water gate on the microtube at the upper end of each gully to adjust the flow rate as follow. From 6 gullies in a NFT table,

divides into two groups by random. Adjust the nutrient solution flow rate of group 1 to 1-2 L/ min and more tahn 2 l/minutes for group 2. 2. Transplanting the seedling. 3. Seedling care and nutrient solution management. a. Each day after trasplanting, control the EC at 1.2 mS cm-1 and 1.4 mS cm-1 during 3-4 week and the pH at 6 for whole growing period. Replace the nutrient solution every 7 days. 4. Data recording. a. Measure the EC and pH of soluton before and after adjusting twice a day in the morning and afternoon. b. Growth analysis in each week, randomly take one lettuce seedling as a sample from each treatment replication and measure the growth according to table 2.1 and 2.2. Use the data to calculate the average in table 3. 5. Report.

RESULT AND DISCUSSION Table 1. The nutrient solution EC and pH changing during week 1 after transplanting Red Oke in the NFT system. Before Adjusting Date Time EC (mScm-1) Morning Afternoon Morning Afternoon Morning Afternoon Morning Afternoon Morning Afternoon Morning Afternoon Morning Afternoon 1,3 1,2 1 1 1,1 1,1 1,2 1,2 1,2 1,2 1,1 1,1 1 1,1 pH Water (L) 3 4 5 10 10 9 Supply Used Stock Sol. (mL) 148,8 Acid (mL) 2,5 10 4,5 10 12 After Adjust EC (mScm-1) 1,1 1,2 1,1 1,2 1,1 1,1 1,3 1,2 1,3 1,1 1,1 1,1 1,1 1,1

pH

12-1213

7 6,6 6,5 6,3 6,3 6,3 6,3 6,4 6,2 6,3 6,3 6,5 * *

6,3 6,1 6,1 6,3 6,3 6,3 6,3 6,4 6,2 5,98 6,3 6,5 * *

13-1213

14-1213

15-1213

16-1213

17-1213

18-1213

(*) = pH meter didnt have power (No battery)

1.1 Result and Discussion for Table 1. The adjustment for pH and EC must be conducted every day during morning and afternoon. To make and adjustment, we use water, stock solution and acid solution. The

normal EC for the solution is around 1.2 ms/cm and pH around 6. Also, we have to adjust water tank level in particular volume every day. For NFT technique, it can be seen there is a nutrient solution EC and pH changing during a week. The pH level mostly increase from 6 to 6.3 7. It can be caused due to solution level in the tank decrease. When the volume of solution decrease, the solution become more acid and dense, so the pH can increase. The pH solution can also increase because when plant absorbs nutrient, the plant realeses H+ that can make the solution become more acid. To make the pH level down, we add a water to a particular volume which is needed by the sistem. Mostly in average, we have to put 3-4 liter in one time. After we add water, the pH becomes lower. Mostly after we add water to the system, the pH becomes lower than 6 or the EC becomes lower than 1.2 ms/cm. In this case, we can add acid to the system. Mostly we used around 4 -10 mL.

Table 2.1 Growth of Red Oke seedling grown in different seedling media for 1 week after transplanting into NFT system using the flow rate of 1-2 L min-1 and Enshis nutrient EC of 1,2 mScm-1 Leaf Number Canopy Width (cm) Weight (g) Shoot Root + Media

Seedling Media

Rep.

Perlite : Vermiculite (1:1)

Avg

4,067

0,1445

27,093

Perlite : Vermiculite (2:1)

Avg

3,8

0,1298

24,04

Sponge

Avg

2,1667

0,0573

2,1433

Result and Discussion for Table 2.1 In this part, we discuss about the growth of lettuce seedling grown in different seedling media in the first week after transplanting into NFT system using the flow rate less than 2 Liter/ min and the nutrient solution EC of 1.2 mS cm-1. Ater one week, in seedling media number 1 (perlite : vermiculate = 1:0), it can be seen that the number of leafs are 5 with the canopy width is 4.067 cm and the weight of the shoot and root+media are 0.1445 gram and 27.093 gram respectively. On the other hand, the media number 2 which is perlite : vermiculite (1:1) has 5 leaves number in average. The canopy width is 3.8 cm. Weight of shoot and root+media are 0.1298 gram and 24.04 gram respectively.

The last medium, which is sponge, has 4 in the average of leaf number. The canopy width is 2.1667 cm . Weight of shoot and root+media are 0.0573 gram and 2.1433 gram respectively. It can be seen that in the first week, the media number 1 has a best result than the others. But we still cant make a conclusion yet until we examine the last week of the laboraroty exercize.

Table 2.2 Growth of Red Oke seedling grown in different seedling media for 1 week after transplanting into NFT system using the flow rate of 1-2 L min-1 and Enshis nutrient EC of 1,2 mScm-1 Leaf Number Canopy Width (cm) Weight (g) Shoot Root + Media

Seedling Media

Rep.

Perlite : Vermiculite (1:1)

Avg

3,6

0,1471

26,39

Perlite : Vermiculite (2:1)

Avg

3,97

0,1753

22,94

Sponge

Avg

4,67

2,67

0,0828

3,62

Result and Discussion for Table 2.2 In this part, we discuss about the growth of lettuce seedling grown in different seedling media in the first week after transplanting into NFT system using the flow rate more than 2 Liter/ min and the nutrient solution EC of 1.2 mS cm-1. In seedling media number 1 (perlite : vermiculate = 1:0), it can be seen that the number of leafs are 5 with the canopy width is 3.6 cm and the weight of the shoot and root+media are 0.1471 gram and 26.39 gram respectively. On the other hand, the media number 2 which is perlite : vermiculite (1:1) has 5 leaves number in average. The canopy width is 3.97 cm. Weight of shoot and root+media are 0.1733 gram and 22.94 gram respectively.

The last medium, which is sponge, has 4.67 in the average of leaf number. The canopy width is 2.67 cm. Weight of shoot and root+media are 0.0828 gram and 3.62 gram respectively. Seedling media using sponge has the lowest number of leaf average, canopy width, as well as shoot and root weight.

Table 3. Growth of Red Okeplanted in three different seedling media and transpalnted in NFT system using two flow rates and Enshis nutrient solution of 1 mScm-1for 1 week. Flow Rate (L min-1) Media P:V = 1:1 (1-2) P:V = 2:1 Sponge cube Average P:V = 1:1 >2 P:V = 2:1 Sponge cube Average P = Perlite V = Vermiculite 5 5 4 4,67 5 5 4,64 4,84 Leaf No. Canopy Width (cm) 4,064 3,8 2,1667 3,3446 3,6 3,94 2,64 3,4133 Width Shoot 0,1445 0,1298 0,0573 0,1105 0,1471 0,1753 0,0828 0,1351 Root+Media 27,093 24,04 2,1433 17,4588 26,39 22.94 3,62 17,6500

Result and Discussion for Table 3 In the first week, it can be said that there is no distinct result between flow rate > 2 liter/min and flow rate < 2 liter/min. But, the flow rate > 2 liter/ min gives the higher result of leaf number average, canopy width average, and root media average. This is because the flow rate > 2 liter/min gives the more oxygen content than < 2 liter/min. Seedling media using sponge has the lowest number of leaf average, canopy width, as well as shoot and root weight. This is because the aeration in sponge media has least aeration content than the other 2 medium.