This is a method of plant cultivation in a nutrient rich aqueous solution. The plant can be grown with or without supported gravel, soil or another medium. The main benefits of hydroponics are indifferent to seasonality and temperature, minimal use of land area, high crop yield. However it is not as suitable to areas with a high evaporation rate. Hydroponics is also only suitable to crops with a high profit margin due to the expense of maintaining and starting crops. (4)
Plants require sixteen chemical nutrients (table 1) these nutrients are essential to the growth, development and completion of the plants life cycle, theses are divided into two categories of non-mineral, found in air and water, which are Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), and Nitrogen (N). The second category is called mineral nutrients this category is further divided into groups called Macronutrients and micronutrients (2). Both of these groups are essential to the development of a plant however are needed in different amounts macronutrients are required in greater amounts that micronutrients. The Law of Minimum applies to nutrient availability; this law states that ‘yield is proportional to the amount of the most limiting nutrient, whichever nutrient it may be’ (3).
Laboratory synthesis of nutrients
Nutrients can be artificially synthesized in a laboratory, chemist are able to formulate these nutrients through the use of controlled reactions. Chemists are also able to formulate different solutions of nutrients, which enables for the development and research of fertilizes through the conduction of investigations of the effect of different combinations of nutrients on the growth and development of plants.
Example of artificial chemical nutrient formulation:
Copper is an essential micronutrient for plants, found in small amounts usually at 8 to 20 ppm in the plant tissue (13,6). Enzymes are activated through the present...