A new local sustainable inorganic material for soilless culture in Spain: Granulated volcanic rock

Judith Pozo, JUAN-EUGENIO ALVARO MARTINEZ-CARRASCO, Isidro Morales, Josefa Requena, Tommaso La Malfa, Pilar C. Mazuela, Miguel Urrestarazu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Volcanic rock has been used for decades as a horticultural substrate worldwide. In Spain, the use of this material as a substrate is ancient; it was initially used in the Canary Islands because of its volcanic geological origin. At the University of Almería (Almería, Spain), three independent vegetable crops were grown under greenhouse conditions: sweet pepper, tomato, and melon. The volcanic rock came from a location in the geographic center of Spain, which facilitated logistics. Bags of volcanic rock (25 L) were used and were compared with a commercial coconut fiber substrate of an equal volume. All physical, physical–chemical, and chemical parameters of the volcanic rock were determined using European standard analytical procedures. Fertigation was applied, independently adapted to the physical, physical–chemical, and chemical characteristics of each substrate. The cultures were performed under a randomized complete block experimental design. Fertigation parameters, pollutant emissions, fruit production, and the quality of each culture were measured. The results showed that the assessed parameters of the volcanic rock substrate are not a limiting factor for its use as a horticultural substrate. The resultant production and quality were very similar among the three crops compared with a widely used commercial control. Therefore, volcanic rock emerges as a local, sustainable alternative to be used for soilless crop cultivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1537-1541
Number of pages5
JournalHortScience
Volume49
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Alternative substrate
  • Coconut fiber
  • Environmental care
  • Horticultural substrate
  • Sustainable substrate

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