Documenting Nutrient Deficiency and Accumulation Rate in Vegetables

Greenhouse hydroponic study to document nutrient deficiency symptoms in various annual and perennial crops


13 Mar 2012

2011 Annual Interpretive Summary

A photo catalog of nutrient deficiency symptoms is being developed for common vegetable crops. The first phase of this research and education project is to induce mineral deficiency symptoms for various hydroponically grown plants in the greenhouse. Using purified nutrient solutions, plants were systematically deprived of each essential nutrient to observe the development of deficiency symptoms.

A complete set of deficiency photographs is now available for lettuce. Photographs for spinach deficiencies will shortly be available. Peppers and eggplant will be grown to produce deficiency symptoms and tissue samples throughout the growing season will be analyzed to determine nutrient accumulation rates. A project to determine a suitable solid phase media for this research was conducted so that root system deficiencies could be measured. Perlite contained sufficient trace concentrations of nutrients to mask some symptoms even after it was washed with acid.

A blueberry experiment was conducted to examine the impact of nitrate (NO3) or ammonium (NH4) nutrition on plant growth and root development. Blueberry shoot and root growth virtually ceased when nitrate was the sole source of N nutrition. A portion of the rootzone N must be in the NH4 form for blueberries to grow. All the images of nutrient deficiencies will be available for educational use from IPNI as the project progresses. TN-20