SoilScience/Horticulture/Agronomy 326

Class Notes

6 March 1997

Guest lecture (6 March 1997) by Dr. Lloyd A. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of the Depts of Horticulture and Soil Science, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison on aeroponics.

What plant factors must be considered for a plant growing system to be functional?

Notice that there is no mention of the necessity of soil to grow plants!

Aeroponics: a History. First article was published in 1921, a study was done in England on apple root stocks. The roots were misted with a nutrient solution. Russians later used intermittent feeding where the roots were not getting a constant mist.

Aeroponics system needs a root chamber, about 5 gal bucket size. This is covered to keep roots dark. On the bottom of the root chamber there is a misting nozzle connected to nutrient supply with solenoid. Because of the rapid growth of the roots, the nozzle can be off to the side or the roots may block the flow of the mist. Also in the bottom of the root chamber there is a drain. A computerized timer controls the opening of the solenoid, which causes an intermittent spray of nutrient solution. Typical rates 4 mL of solution in 3 seconds every ten minutes. The nutrient solution is kept in a pressurized stainless steel container. Air compressor is used to create the pressure and it is regulated by an air pressure regulator. Nutrient solution is never reused. Temperature is controlled by placing all the roots chambers in a box and using an air conditioner to control temperature in the box. Plants have been grown using this method for up to fifteen months.

aeroponically-grown potato, note the tubers!Use aeroponics because:

Possible problems of using aeroponics:

  1. Are the root system normal?
    1. appears yes - there are root hairs - roots are white
    2. inorganic composition is equivalent to soil
    3. shoot-to-root ratio is OK
  2. Volume of container some cases will need a very large root chamber

Potential Use of Aeroponics:

Also check out:

Back to 326 HomePage

Our thanks (and a bag of M&Ms) to Sheri Barlow for her notes! Aeroponically-grown potato plants, with tubers, from MSc project of Ms. Gulden Zont (P. Barak, advisor); photo by Phillip Barak. This page was last modified by Phillip Barak, Univ. of Wisconsin, on 25 May 1998. All rights reserved.