Given the important medicinal and nutritional value of wild edible greens, in the last few years, there is an increasing interest in their domestication and commercial exploitation. However, information concerning their adaptation to environmental conditions and their response to modern agricultural systems is scarce.
In the present study, the effect of nutrient solution pH (4.0, 5.5, and 7.0) on the growth, chemical composition, and inorganic nutrition of Taraxacum officinale and Reichardia picroides plants grown indoors in a floating hydroponic system was evaluated. Both species performed better at pH 5.5 and were slightly affected by pH 7.0, whereas pH 4.0 was not prohibitive for growth for both species, although R. picroides was less tolerant than T. officinale at low pH. Moreover, pH 4.0 did not severely affect nutrients uptake and transport within the plant tissues, suggesting that R. picroides susceptibility to low pH should not be attributed to nutrients imbalance.
Nevertheless, low pH positively enhanced the content in total soluble solids, total phenolics, chlorophylls (a, b and total), and carotenoids, and decreased nitrates in both species. In conclusion, the studied species could be successfully grown in soilless systems with nutrient solutions of varied pH. Moreover, low pH levels (pH = 4.0) seemed to be beneficial to nutritional and dietary value in both species highlighting the potential of commercial cultivation under adverse conditions, especially in sustainable farming systems.
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Alexopoulos, Alexios & Marandos, Efstathios & Assimakopoulou, Anna & Vidalis, Nikolina & Petropoulos, Spyridon & Karapanos, Ioannis. (2021). Effect of Nutrient Solution pH on the Growth, Yield and Quality of Taraxacum officinale and Reichardia picroides in a Floating Hydroponic System. Agronomy. 11. 10.3390/agronomy11061118.