Hydroponics Experiment - Knowledgebase Question

Hanover, MA
Avatar for hawk321
Question by hawk321
December 4, 1997
I am a sophomore doing research for my Honors Chem science fair project. Could you tell me, after inoculating seeds with Rhizobium Leguminosarum, can I grow plants hydroponically and still expect the bacteria to survive? I've run into conflicting information and could use an answer before I do more in-depth research into hydroponics. Thanks!

Answer from NGA
December 4, 1997
It's an interesting question--a good one, I imagine, for a science project! I would think the concern would be keeping the bacteria on the seeds and emerging rootlets early on. Once the bacteria have formed the nodules on the roots, any type of set-up should work fine.

Since there are many ways to construct a hydroponic set-up, there may be some ways that are better than others for encouraging the Rhizobium to stick around. For example, those set-ups that have the plant roots growing on rock wool might be a good choice, since the roots are not immersed in the hydroponic solution but are growing on a medium that provides for adequate air circulation. Set-ups that use a wicking action (such as those with a capillary mat) might be a good choice, so the solution isn't washing over the roots.

You might contact the Hydroponic Society of America, PO Box 3075, San Ramon, CA 94583, ph# 510/743-9605, e-mail: hydrosocam@aol.com.

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