2019 Volume 57 Issue 3 Pages 69-74
Hydroponic culture holds potential advantages for the production of edible cacti, though there have been few studies investigating the effects on growth. This research investigates the effects of cultivation conditions including mother cladode size, fertilizer concentration and temperature on the growth of the edible cactus Nopalea cochenillifera in hydroponic culture. Mother cladode size was positively correlated with daughter cladode growth and development. 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 effective in promoting daughter cladode growth and development, though there was little difference in cladode number and length of first daughter cladode among different fertilizer treatments. In addition, we evaluated the effects of cultivation temperature (light and dark period temperatures of 25℃/15℃, 25℃/25℃, 35℃/15℃, 35℃/25℃, and 45℃/15℃). Cladode growth was promoted at 35℃/15℃ and 35℃/25℃ leading to an increased harvest of daughter cladodes compared with other treatments. Our results show that mother cladode size, fertilizer concentration and cultivation temperature strongly affect daughter cladode growth and development. Thus, controlling cultivation conditions is important for improving edible cactus productivity and quality when using hydroponics.