Growing media for ornamental plants often consists of a soilless mix of peat and perlite, a processed mineral used to increase drainage. Growers also regularly use plant-growth regulators to ensure consistent and desired plant characteristics such as height to meet market demands.
Organic substitutes for perlite like tree bark have proven difficult because they absorb the plant-growth regulators and keep them from getting to the plants. Using bark requires a 25 percent increase in the volume of growth regulators applied.
"We were not sure whether rice hulls, as an organic component, would hold up the growth regulator," said Roberto Lopez, a Purdue assistant professor of horticulture and co-author of a HortTechnology paper that outlined the findings. "Testing showed that there were no differences in plants grown with rice hulls or perlite."
Pansies and calibrachoa were planted in an 80-20 mix of both peat and perlite and peat and rice hulls and then treated with several different growth regulators. The plants treated with and without growth regulators and grown in peat and perlite and peat and rice hulls had similar heights and stem lengths.
Finding a waste product to replace perlite could reduce the price of growing media since perlite must be mined and heat processed.
"It's a really energy-intensive process and, because it's a mineral, it's non-renewable," said Chris Currey, a horticulture graduate student and co-author of the HortTechnology paper.
Rice hulls are an attractive option, Lopez said, because they can be easily transported on barges and rice growers in the South could increase profits by selling a traditional waste product.
"Often these rice hulls were being burnt because there's not a lot of other use for them," Lopez said.
Syngenta and Fine Americas funded the research. Lopez and Currey collaborated with Purdue research technician Diane Camberato and graduate student Ariana Torres.
Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Roberto Lopez, 765-496-3425, email@example.com
Chris Currey, 765-496-3425, firstname.lastname@example.orgAg Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences