Tomato seedling growth and leaf nutrient uptake using biostimulants and different nutrient solutions in the tropics.

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Meza-Figueroa, C.A., Bullones-Montilla, F.J., and Ramírez-Guerrero, H.O. 2012. Tomato seedling growth and leaf nutrient uptake using biostimulants and different nutrient solutions in the tropics. The 1st World Congress on the use of Biostimulants in Agriculture. Strasbourg, France.

The use of a proper nutrient solution is a key factor in achieving the production of vigorous seedlings and subsequently obtaining profitable yields. It is true indeed when a producer says: “A good seedling is 50% of the production”. However, management of vegetable seedling nutrition in Venezuela, and most tropical countries, is seldom practiced, or it is carried out empirically, without any planning. The influence of biostimulants and different nutrient solutions on the growth of tomato seedlings and leaf nutrient uptake was investigated in an experiment conducted at a commercial nursery farm located in Quibor, Lara state. The treatments were (1) control (C) (tap water alone); (2) conventional grower nutrient solution (CS); (3) Wye nutrient solution (Wye); (4) Wye nutrient solution 50% (dWye), and (5) biostimulant solutions (Viva from Valagro S.p.a, sugarcane molasses, Carbo-Vit from Humus Liquidos-Mexico, Liquid Vermicompost from cattle manure and honey from bees) using individual 200-plastic transplant trays filled with the conventional growth media (Canadian peat + coir dust). Seedling height was significantly higher in the dWye solution than in other treatments, including the control. A similar response was found with the stem diameter and dry weight of aerial organs for the Wye solution. There were no differences in the total number of leaves and root dry weight. The smallest seedling leaf area (LA) was associated with C. Plant tissues accumulated more nitrogen and potassium when Wye was used. There were no differences in the total nutrient uptake of phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. No differences were observed among biostimulant solutions, CS and C could be associated to some nutrients supplied from peat mainly. Further research is recommended to develop balanced, integrated and planned seedling fortification and fertilization, using other biostimulants and nutrient solutions (organic and mineral) and alternative substrates.