Ludisia discolor is commonly known as a jewel orchid due to its variegated leaves. Easy maintenance of the orchid allows it to be used as a test system for various fertilizers and nutrient sources, including aquaponic water (AW). First, we applied DNA barcoding to assess the taxonomic identity of this terrestrial orchid and to construct phylogenetic trees.
Next, the vegetative organs (leaf, stem, and root) were compared in terms of the level of metabolites (reducing sugars, proteins, anthocyanins, plastid pigments, phenolics, and antioxidant activity) and nutrient elements (carbon, nitrogen, sodium, and potassium), which highlighted the leaves as the most functionally active organ. Subsequently, AW was used as a natural source of fish-derived nutrients, and the orchid growth was tested in hydroponics, in irrigated soil, and in an aquaponic system.
Plant physiological status was evaluated by analyzing leaf anatomy and measuring chlorophyll content and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters. These results provided evidence of the beneficial effects of AW on the jewel orchid, including increased leaf formation, enhanced chlorophyll content and photosystems’ productivity, and stimulated and prolonged flowering. The information acquired in the present study could be used in addressing additional aspects of the growth and development of the jewel orchid, which is also known for its medicinal value.
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Chaneva, Ganka & Tomov, Alexander & Paunov, Momchil & Hristova, Viktoria & Ganeva, Valentina & Mihaylova, Nikolina & Anev, Svetoslav & Krumov, Nikolay & Yordanova, Zhenya & Tsenov, Boris & Vassileva, Valya & Bonchev, Georgi & Zhiponova, Miroslava. (2022). Jewel Orchid’s Biology and Physiological Response to Aquaponic Water as a Potential Fertilizer. Plants. 11. 3181. 10.3390/plants11223181.