Disinfestation of recirculating nutrient solutions in greenhouse horticulture

  • Ehret D
  • Alsanius B
  • Wohanka W
 et al. 
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Recirculating nutrient systems offer a good method to control nutrient leaching from greenhouses into the environment. However, the potential for the rapid spread of root diseases is the main hindrance to adoption of recirculating nutrient systems by the greenhouse industry. This review discusses and compares five broadly different methods of disease control in these systems, namely heat, filtration, chemical, radiation and biological control. Each has strengths and weaknesses, but all have been found to be effective in terms of pathogen control. Sterilization (heat, oxidizing chemicals, UV radiation) and membrane filtration methods are generally very effective, but may adversely affect beneficial microorganisms in the recirculated solution. Slow filtration and microbial inoculation methods are less disruptive of the microflora, but effectiveness may vary with the pathogen. Microbial inoculation holds the promise of very targeted disease suppression, but few products are commercially available.

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  • David L. Ehret

  • Beatrix Alsanius

  • Walter Wohanka

  • James G. Menzies

  • Raj Utkhede

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