Domenico Prisa 1, * and Giacomo Guerrini 2
1 CREA Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Via dei Fiori 8, 51012 Pescia, PT, Italy.
2 Bios Hydrogel, Via Trieste 31/A, 35121 Padova, PD, Italy.
GSC Advanced Research and Reviews, 2022, 12(03), 026–032.
Article DOI: 10.30574/gscarr.2022.12.3.0233
Received on 30 July 2022; revised on 01 September 2022; accepted on 03 September 2022
Research goal: This article presents the results of a research project aimed at demonstrating the effects and benefits of using an organic ingredient, hydrogel (Hydro Start), that can improve the germination and growth of Zea mays and Solanum lycopersicum seedlings.
Materials and Methods: Experiments began in April 2022 and were conducted in the greenhouses of CREA-OF in Pescia (PT) on seeded plants of Zea mays and Solanum lycopersicum. Seeds were placed in pots with different hydrogel capsules to determine if there were any effects on plant germination and growth. Agronomic analysis of the seeds and plants, microbiological analysis, and substrate evaluation were also conducted.
Results and Discussion: The experiment showed that the use of hydrogel can improve the quality and hardiness of the sown plants of Zea mays and Solanum lycopersicum. In general, the improvement in average germination time and plant growth was proportional to the number of hydrogel capsules placed in the substrate at the time of sowing; this also influenced the microbial colonisation of the soil. Studies show that the water retained in the hydrogel provides a water reservoir in the soil that can increase the efficiency of water uptake by plants. Mixing superabsorbent materials (hydrogels) with soils or growing media can significantly increase the water-holding capacity of the soil. This water is available to plants for a longer period of time, making them more resilient, especially when transplanting. In addition, incorporating hydrogels into the soil or growing media allows for improved germination, plant growth, and nutrient and water uptake.
Conclusions: Research shows that hydrogels can be used in a variety of ways due to their ability to retain water. These innovations can also ensure and promote plant survival under dry conditions. Further experiments are currently underway to evaluate hydrogels in tree species germination, transplanting, and acclimation.
Plants growth; Microorganisms; Sustainable agriculture; Hydrogel; Rhizosphere
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