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Pioneering the Future

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Ten years of hydroponic lettuce research

Abstract: This review article describes the highlights of ten years of hydroponic lettuce (Lactuca sativa; butterhead lettuce) research conducted at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY, USA) throughout most of the nineties. Both the nutrient film technique (NFT) and the deep flow system were used for experimentation. Supplemental lighting and CO2 enrichment strategies were developed in an attempt to minimize the crop production cycle while producing tipburn-free lettuce. A computer model was developed to simulate hydroponic lettuce production under different environment conditions and plant spacings. Based on the research findings, a commercially scaled pilot greenhouse facility was designed, constructed, and operated to demonstrate the economic feasibility of hydroponic lettuce production in upstate New York, USA.