Mineral nutrients have marked effects on plant health by providing the building blocks for plant growth, as well as for mitigating abiotic and biotic stress factors, particularly disease development. Even if mineral nutrition field studies are conducted to study pest management, they are at the mercy of complex soil, water, and climatic conditions not amenable to strict experimental control. Therefore, a hydroponic method of growing lettuce was developed and growth curves were established for the macronutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Lettuce plants were grown at varying levels of each nutrient: 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, and 320 mg N/L; 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 mg P/L; and 0, 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 40, 80 and 160 mg K/L. Due to inadequate results lettuce was grown again at 0, 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, 320 and 640 mg L K. Optimal levels of N, P, and K were 160 mg/L, 4.0 mg/L, and 80 mg/L respectively. C:N ratios were also looked at for the N experiment. The overall result was consistent with results from similar studies. Unlike similar hydroponic studies done with other plants, micronutrient levels did not become deficient at high phosphorus levels suggesting phosphorus toxicity. These growth curves can be used to test lettuce resilience to various biotic and abiotic stresses.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



Date Submitted


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lettuce, hydroponics, growth curves, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium