Coconut fiber: evaluation of physicochemical properties and enzymatic activity in soilless culture during three cycles of organic cultivation

P.A. Mejía, M.C. Salas, M.J. López
In recent years, the use of organic substrates has increased owing to the urgent need to find new sustainable and environmentally friendly media alternatives for soilless containers. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of three continuous cycles of organic cultivation (Solanum lycopersicum L., Cucumis melo L., and Lactuca sativa L.) on the physicochemical and biological properties of coconut fiber. The crops were grown in a multi-tunnel greenhouse in 27-L containers under automated irrigation. Vermicompost tea applied through the irrigation system was the main source of nutrients. The physical (organic matter, carbon/nitrogen ratio, dry bulk density, porosity, air volume, and readily available water), chemical (pH, electrical conductivity, and cations and anions), and biological (dehydrogenase, acid phosphatase, and β-glucosidase activities) properties of the cultivation system were found to differ in each of the three cultivation cycles. The physical and biological properties were maintained within optimal ranges throughout the cycles; however, the chemical properties showed limitations with regard to nutrient availability after one crop cycle. Therefore, it is recommended to use coconut fiber in a mixture with another organic substrate to improve some of the characteristics and apply natural mineral nutrients during its cultivation. This is to ensure a source of nitrogen that stimulates the activity of microbiota and achieves a balance between mineralization (destruction of humus) and humification (production of humus).
Mejía, P.A., Salas, M.C. and López, M.J. (2020). Coconut fiber: evaluation of physicochemical properties and enzymatic activity in soilless culture during three cycles of organic cultivation. Acta Hortic. 1273, 9-16
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1273.2
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1273.2
organic production in container, organic matter, readily available water, dehydrogenase, substrate media extract, renewable substrate
English

Acta Horticulturae