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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 3, p. 462-464
    Received: Aug 23, 1972

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Effect of a Phytoplankton Culture on the Germination and Seedling Development of Barley, Sugar Beets, and Lettuce1

  1. Charles H. Davis and
  2. E. Ray Bigler2



Alteration of soil properties and plant growth by phytoplankton cultures has been reported many times as separate phenomena. An investigation of the interrelationship of alteration of soil properties and plant growth by a phytoplankton culture was undertaken. This report is confined to seedling development, emergence, and related yields.

The effect of various quantities of a Chlorophyta phytoplankton culture on seed germination, seedling development, and yield was evaluated in both the laboratory and field. In the laboratory, ‘Arivat’ barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) seedlings were grown in aqueous solutions of phytoplankton culture. Shoot length was increased by 102 and 103 ppm concentrations of the culture but was unchanged at 104 and 105 ppm. There was an inverse relationship between shoot length and shoot weight per unit length. In the field, barley seedling emergence was significantly increased by injecting undiluted phytoplankton culture with the seed at a rate of three liters per 240 m of row.

Preplant irrigation with a 103 ppm dilution of phytoplankton culture in the field increased sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seedling emergence. Subsequent post-plant applications of the phytoplankton resulted in additional increase in seedling emergence. Increased production was found for the sugar beets at all levels of treatment. This further increase could not be allocated to either growth regulator or soil modification but could be the result of both acting at once.

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