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Horticultura Brasileira

Print version ISSN 0102-0536


COMETTI, Nilton Nélio; MARTINS, Madlles Q; BREMENKAMP, Cintia Aparecida  and  NUNES, José Arcanjo. Nitrate concentration in lettuce leaves depending on photosynthetic photon flux and nitrate concentration in the nutrient solution. Hortic. Bras. [online]. 2011, vol.29, n.4, pp.548-553. ISSN 0102-0536.

The nitrate accumulation in plant tissues can occur due to low light availability. However, published studies have not linked nitrate accumulation to photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) measured during the growing period. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of the reduction of photosynthetic photon flux and the concentration of nitrate in the nutrient solution on agronomic characteristics and accumulation of nitrate in lettuce grown in hydroponics. The trial design was entirely randomized in a factorial scheme (4 x 2) with three repetitions, and four shading levels: 0, 30, 50, and 80% and two nitrate levels in nutrient solution: 5 and 10 mmol L-1. The dry matter production decreased directly and linearly with the reduction of light. The lowest level in nitrate solution also led to reduction in dry mass yield. The maximum accumulation of nitrate reached 966.3 mg kg-1 fresh mass, with PPF of 118 μmol/m2/s and 140 mg L-1 of N-NO3-1 (below the maximum levels recommended by the European Union), and the minimum of 200 mg kg-1 with PPF of 455 μmol/m2/s and 70 mg L-1 of N-NO3-1 in the nutrient solution. The reduction of nitrate in the nutrient solution from 140 to 70 mg L-1 led to the reduction of nitrate accumulation in shoots, but also caused a decrease in the production of phytomass of shoots, as well as reduced leaf area significantly.

Keywords : Lactuca sativa L; hydroponic crop; shading; nitrate accumulation.

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