Article | 02. 2016 Vol. 34, Issue. 1
Precise, Real-time Measurement of the Fresh Weight of Lettuce with Growth Stage in a Plant Factory using a Nutrient Film Technique

Department of Plant Science and Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University1
Deparment of Horticulture and Breeding, Andong National University2

2016.02. 77:83


The measurement of total fresh weight of plants provides an essential indicator of crop growth for monitoring production. To measure fresh weight without damaging the vegetation, imagebased methods have been developed, but they have limitations. In addition, the total plant fresh weight is difficult to measure directly in hydroponic cultivation systems because of the amount of nutrient solution. This study aimed to develop a real-time, precise method to measure the total fresh weight of Romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Asia Heuk Romaine) with growth stage in a plant factory using a nutrient film technique. The total weight of the channel, amount of residual nutrient solution in the channel, and fresh shoot and root weights of the plants were measured every 7 days after transplanting. The initial weight of the channel during nutrient solution supply (Wi) and its weight change per second just after the nutrient solution supply stopped were also measured. When no more draining occurred, the final weight of the channel (Ws) and the amount of residual nutrient solution in the channel were measured. The time constant (τ) was calculated by considering the transient values of Wi and Ws. The relationship of Wi, Ws, τ, and fresh weight was quantitatively analyzed. After the nutrient solution supply stopped, the change in the channel weight exponentially decreased. The nutrient solution in the channel slowly drained as the root weight in the channel increased. Large differences were observed between the actual fresh weight of the plant and the predicted value because the channel included residual nutrient solution. These differences were difficult to predict with growth stage but a model with the time constant showed the highest accuracy. The real-time fresh weight could be calculated from Wi, Ws, and τ with growth stage.

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