Currently, new agri-tech has been developed and adapted for the cultivation of crops using smart farming technologies, e.g., plant factories and hydroponics. Kelp (Laminaria japonica), which has a high industrial value, was considered an alternative to chemicals for its eco-friendly and sustainably wide use in crop cultivation. In this study, fermented kelp (FK) was developed for use in hydroponics.

The FK contained various free and protein-bound amino acid compositions produced by fermenting the kelp with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Supplementing FK as an aeroponic medium when cultivating ginseng sprouts (GSs) elevated the total phenolic and flavonoid contents. Additionally, seven ginsenosides (Rg1, Re, Rb1, Rc, Rg2, Rb2, and Rd) in GSs cultivated with FK in a smart-farm system were identified and quantified by a high-performance liquid chromatography-evaporative light scattering detector/mass spectrometry analysis.

Administering FK significantly increased the ginsenosides in the GSs compared to the control group, which was cultivated with tap water. These results indicate the FK administration contributed to the increased accumulation of ginsenosides in the GSs. Overall, this study suggests that FK, which contains abundant nutrients for plant growth, can be used as a novel nutrient solution to enhance the ginsenoside content in GSs during hydroponic cultivation.

Park, K.-W.; Kim, J.-H.; Jeong, B.-G.; Park, J.-K.; Jang, H.-Y.; Oh, Y.-S.; Kang, K.-Y. Increased Accumulation of Ginsenosides in Panax ginseng Sprouts Cultivated with Kelp Fermentates. Plants 2024, 13, 463.

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