Hydroponic Systems Reviewed

In all technology, and for good reason, the scientific method has had to “separated and divided” in an effort to understand basic structures in their specific discipline. We now have a basic understanding of most scientific disciplines, this includes horticulture. But, in today’s sciences, we have hit a wall, which, by it’s mere height, has given us a wider perspective that can only be described as “Awesome”. In growing our plants, we can incorporate methods that considers the whole. Thus we have included the buzz word “Holistic” in much of our work. Holistic Hydro-Organics incorporates the entire plants characteristics of health, taste, quality and the sustainable practices we use to reach these high goals. Thus OST included in its development recycled materials not just in composting and liquid bio-fermentation but in the construction of most of the tools such as containers and hydro system constructs etc. Beyond this the idea of growing some of your own food at home, takes under consideration the footprint left by transportation systems and the monopoly of centralized production.

Essential Nutrients Deficiency | Toxicity Symptoms

Essential Nutrients Deficiency | Toxicity Symptoms

Action Mode, Deficiency and Toxicity Symptoms of the 17 Essential Nutrients. MACRO NUTRIENTS Nutrient Action Mode Deficiency Excess Comments Nitrogen (N) Absorbed as NO3-, NH4+; responsible for rapid foliage growth and green color; easily leaches from soil, especially NO3-; mobile in plant, moving to new growth Reduced growth, light green to yellow foliage (chlorosis); reds and purples may intensify with some plants; reduced lateral breaks; symptoms appear first on older growth Succulent growth, leaves are dark green, thick and brittle; poor fruit set; excess ammonia can induce calcium deficiency The best NH4+/NO3- ratio is 1/1; high NH4+ under low light can cause leaf curl; uptake inhibited by high P levels; indoors, best N/K ratio is 1/1 unless light is extremely high; in soils with high C/N ratio more N should be supplied. Phosphorus (P) Promotes root formation and growth; affects quality of seed, fruit and flower production; increased disease resistance; does not leach from soil readily; mobile in plant, moving to new growth Reduced growth; leaves dark green; purple or red color in older leaves, especially on the underside of the leaf along the veins; leaf shape may be distorted; thin stems; limited root growth Shows up as micronutrient deficiency of Zn, Fe, or Co Rapidly “fixed” on soil particles; when applied under acid conditions, fixed with Fe, Mn and Al; under alkaline conditions fixed with Ca; high P interferes with micronutrient and N absorption; used in relatively small amounts when compared to N and K; availability is lowest in cold soils. Potassium (K) Helps plants overcome drought stress; improves winter hardiness; increased disease resistance; improves the rigidity of stalks; leaches from soil; mobile in plant Reduced growth; shortened internodes; margins of older leaves become chlorotic and burn; necrotic (dead) spots on older leaves; reduction of lateral breaks and tendency to wilt readily; poorly developed root systems; weak stalks Causes N deficiency in plant and may affect the uptake of other positive ions such as Mg and Ca High N/low K favors vegetative growth; low N/high K promotes reproductive growth (flower, fruit); calcium excess impedes uptake of potassium Magnesium (Mg) Absorbed as Mg++; leaches from sandy soil; mobile in plant Reduction in growth; yellowish, bronze, or reddish color of older leaves, while veins remains green; leaf margins may curl downward or upward with a puckering effect Interferes with Ca uptake; small necrotic spots in older leaves; smaller veins in older leaves may turn brown; in advanced stage, young leaves may be spotted Mg is commonly deficient in foliage plants because it is leached and not replaced; epsom salts at a rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon may be used two times a year; Mg can be absorbed by leaves if sprayed in a weak solution; dolomitic limestone can be applied in outdoor situations to rectify a deficiency Calcium (Ca) Absorbed as Ca++; moderately leachable; limited mobility in plant; essential for growth of shoot and root tips; reduces the toxicity of aluminum and manganese Inhibition of bud growth; roots can turn black and rot; young leaves are scalloped and abnormally green; leaf tips may stick together; cupping of maturing leaves; blossom end rot of many fruits, pits on root vegetables; stem structure is weak; premature shedding of fruit and buds Interferes with Mg absorption; high Ca usually causes high pH which then precipitates many of the micronutrient so they become unavailable to the plant Ca is rarely deficient if the correct pH is maintained; too much or too little water, can affect Ca relationships within the plant causing deficiency in the location where Ca was needed at the time of...

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Beneficial Microbes in Hydroponics

Beneficial Microbes in Hydroponics

Beneficial Microbes | Pathogen Control One reason soil-less cultures were originally developed was to control soil borne diseases. Soil-less cultures provide several advantages for growers such as greater production of crops, reduced energy consumption, better control of growth and independence of soil quality. But root diseases still occur frequently in hydroponics and disease outbreaks are sometimes greater than in soil (Stanghellini and Rasmussen, 1994). Pythium and Phytophthora sp. are particularly well adapted to aquatic environments. Their growth in soil-less substrates is favored by the recirculation of the nutrient solution. These pathogenic microorganisms are usually controlled by disinfection methods but such methods are only effective as a preventive measure. More recently there has been an increase in investigations on proventing pathogens by the addition of antagonistic microorganisms.  For example the study and subsequent report Pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms in soilless cultures is a good example of this new interest in horticultural sciences. However much of the new research has yet to go deeply into the hydro-oganics where soil is a basic structure placed solidly in the system. The OST hydro-organic system’s inherent soil structure inoculates the water with elementary beneficial microorganisms constantly. The water, biofilm and substrate, with their established community, acts as a buffer against pathogen intrusion. Refer to the report Microbial ecosystem constructed in water for organic hydroponics pdf. In this report by NARO researcher Makoto Shinohara,  demonstrates how the susceptibility to bacterial wilt disease of tomato was examined by inoculation of the culture solution with Ralstonia solanacearum. His study shows that more than half of the plants grown with chemical fertilizer died from bacterial wilt disease, while there were no wilted tomato plants among those grown hydro-organically. However much of the new research has yet to go deeply into the hydro-oganics where soil is a basic structure placed solidly in the system. The OST hydro-organic system’s inherent soil inoculates the water with elementary beneficial microorganisms constantly. The water, biofilm and substrate, with their established community, acts as a buffer against pathogen intrusion. An established community of beneficial bacterias and fungus compete for room. They exude hydrolytic enzymes and antibiotics to suppress the growth of non communal pathogens. There is a synergism between the antibiotics and hydrolytic enzymes produced by bacteria. Firstly, the enzymes degrade the cell wall of the pathogen, and secondly, this enables the toxin to act more efficiently against the pathogen by gaining access at an intracellular level. Beneficial Microbes | Nitrification Nitrification is the aerobic conversion of ammonia into nitrates. The bacteria responsible for this process form a biofilm on all solid surfaces throughout the system that are in constant contact with the water. The submerged roots, substrate and tank walls combined have a large surface area, so that single floating bacteria can accumulate and begin to form their natural environment of a biofilm. Care for these bacterial colonies is important not only to keep pathogens in check, but also to regulate the full assimilation of ammonia and nitrite for effective Hydro-Organic Nitrification. Nitrification is one of the most important functions in the OTS Hydro-Organic system as it reduces the toxicity of the organic compounds in the water and allows the resulting nitrate compounds to be used by the plants for nourishment. Organic compounds can be converted into other nitrogenous compounds through healthy populations of Nitrosomonas bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrites, and Nitrobacter bacteria that convert nitrites into nitrates, which is the preferred nitrogen for more than 90% of all plant...

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Hydro-Organic Microbial Ecosystem Overview

Hydro-Organic Microbial Ecosystem Overview

A Hydro-Organic Microbial Ecosystem was first investigated at the national Agriculture and Food Research Organization located in Kusawa Japan. It was in 2008 that Makoto Shinohara, Hiromi Ohmori and Yoichi Uehara began a new line of investigation dealing with creating a microbial ecosystem. The microbial ecosystem mineralised organic nitrogen to nitrate-nitrogen via ammonification and nitrification. The culture solution containing the microbial ecosystem was usable as a hydroponic solution. Vegetable plants grew well in their organic hydroponics system under continuous addition of organic fertilizer and the yield and quality approximated those of vegetables grown by conventional hydroponics. OTS has expounded on this research by adding an additional component. Permanent organic substrates containing both, Nitrosomonas bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrites and Nitrobacter bacteria that convert nitrites into nitrates. The organic composts is the main active ingredient in the hydroponic substrate used in conjunction with the OST hydroponic system. This compost and the liquid fertilizer made via a bio-fermentation process were created by a colony of beneficial microbes, both nitrosomona and nitrobacter. So unlike the NARO study, the OST system has nitrifying agents inherent in the system. Other inoculations are not needed. Below find a short summary of Makoto Shinohara’s work at the National Agriculture and Food Research facility, or download the full NARO report One very interesting part of the NARO study is printed in full below. Two sets of tomato plants were established. One grown with hydroponics-organic and the other with traditional chemical hydroponic solution. See the results of the Pathogen study below. Phytopathogen Inoculation (NARO study) Susceptibility to bacterial wilt disease of tomato was examined by inoculation of the culture solution with Ralstonia solanacearum MAFF 301487. Upper: tomato plants cultivated with chemical fertilizer (top container) and with corn steep liquor (bottom container) as organic fertilizer. Lower: graph shows that more than half of the plants grown with chemical fertilizer died from bacterial wilt disease; there were no wilted tomato plants among those grown with corn steep liquor…...

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Hydro-Organic Nitrification

Hydro-Organic Nitrification

One of the reasons Hydro-Organic Nitrification was developed, was because hydroponic systems traditionally use only certain manufactured fertilizers. Many of us are striving for a more sustainable, organic way of life. Tradition always hands the generation that follows, systems that are considered fully developed, as was horticulture before hydroponics came into the fold of true science. Hydro-Organics adds value to hydroponics. New information is coming in from all disciplines of sciences, doubling it’s libraries every 3 years. It is no wonder microbes and hydroponics have finally found a connection. Since there are no microbial ecosystems present in such traditional systems to mineralize organic compounds into inorganic nutrients, a new method was needed. Addition of organic compounds to a hydroponic solution generally has phytotoxic effects and causes poor plant growth. Makoto Shinohara of NARO developed a novel organic hydroponics culture method using organic fertilizers. A microbial ecosystem was constructed in hydroponic solution by regulating the amounts of organic fertilizer and soil. This is called Hydro-Organic Nitrification. Organic sources of nitrogen breakdown to create Ammonia. Nitrification is the process by which ammonia is converted to nitrites (NO2-) and then nitrates (NO3-).  This process naturally occurs in the environment, where it is carried out by specialized bacteria. Nitrogen is the fourth most abundant element in living things, being a major constituent of proteins and nucleic acids. Nitrification, the aerobic conversion of ammonia into nitrates, is one of the most important functions in an Hydro-Organic system as it reduces the toxicity of the organic compounds in the water and allows the resulting nitrate compounds to be used by the plants for nourishment. Organic compounds can be converted into other nitrogenous compounds through healthy populations of: Nitrosomonas: bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrites, and Nitrobacter: bacteria that convert nitrites into nitrates. The bacteria responsible for this process form a biofilm on all solid surfaces throughout the system that are in constant contact with the water. The submerged roots, substrates and tank walls combined, have a large surface area. Untold billions of microbes, principally bacteria, accumulate there. Care for these bacterial colonies is important so as to regulate the full assimilation of ammonia and nitrite for effective Hydro-Organic Nitrification. Once the system is set into play properly, The microfilm takes care of the microbial...

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