Authors: 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, and Italy.
2 Bios Hydrogel, Via Trieste 31/A, 35121 Padova, PD, Italy.
GSC Advanced Research and Reviews, 2023, 14(02), 121–128.
Article DOI: 10.30574/gscarr.2023.14.2.0058
DOI url: https://doi.org/10.30574/gscarr.2023.14.2.0058
Received on 01 January 2023; revised on 09 February 2023; accepted on 11 February 2023
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), to improve the germination and growth of Paulownia tomentosa and Cupressus sempervirens seedlings.
Materials and Methods: The experiments started in May 2022 and were conducted in the CREA-OF greenhouses in Pescia (PT) on seeded plants of Paulownia tomentosa and Cupressus sempervirens. The seeds were placed in pots with various hydrogel capsules to determine whether there were any effects on germination and plant growth. Agronomic analyses of the seeds and plants, microbiological analyses and substrate evaluation were also conducted.
Results and Discussion: The experiment showed that the use of hydrogel can improve the quality and resistance of sown plants of Paulownia tomentosa and Cupressus sempervirens. In general, the improvement in average germination time and plant growth was proportional to the number of hydrogel capsules inserted into the substrate at the time of sowing; this also influenced the microbial colonisation of the soil. Studies show that the water retained by the hydrogel forms a water reserve in the soil that can increase the water uptake efficiency of plants. Mixing superabsorbent materials (hydrogels) with soils or growing media can significantly increase the water-holding capacity of the soil. Water is available to plants for a longer period of time, making them more resistant, especially during transplanting. Furthermore, the incorporation of 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 in drought conditions. The results show that new hydrogels need to be evaluated not only for their physical properties, but also for their biological attributes related to the positive and negative aspects that bind microorganisms to plants.
Forestry plants; Climate change; Sustainable agriculture; Hydrogel; Rhizosphere
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