Effects of Cultivation Conditions on the Growth of the Edible Cactus Nopalea cochenillifera in Hydroponic Culture

Authors:Joseph Webb


Relationship between environmental conditions and cladode growth is important for improving the production and quality of edible cacti. The purpose of this paper is to cultivate edible cacti using deep flow hydroponic culture and investigated the effect of cultivation conditions including mother cladode size, fertilizer concentration and temperature on cladode growth. The size of the mother cladode is positively related to the growth and development of the daughter cladode. Total fresh weight of daughter cladodes per mother cladode was highest when a large mother cladode was used, while small mother cladodes produced fewer daughter cladodes. Fertilizer usage was beneficial to promote daughter cladode growth and development, though there was little difference in cladode number and length of first daughter cladode among different fertilizer treatments. Moreover, the influence of cultivation temperature (light and dark period temperatures of 25℃/15℃, 25℃/25℃, 35℃/15℃, 35℃/25℃, and 45℃/15℃) was evaluated. Cladode growth was improved at 35℃/15℃ and 35℃/25℃ resulting in an enhanced harvest of daughter cladodes compared with other treatments. The present study shows that mother cladode size, fertilizer concentration and cultivation temperature strongly affect daughter cladode growth and development. Manipulating these parameters to promote daughter cladode growth could improve the quality and productivity of edible cacti.

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