Western Illinois University has recently obtained a federally funded grant that will provide opportunities for academic community to conduct research on hydroponics, with specific focus on lettuce production. The grant calls for implementation of hyper-spectral reflectance, a technology that aids hydroponic growth. The beginnings of the research were humble, as the student-built system was used, but soon expertise was acquired to take the next step. Grant will provide funds to construction of a system that will have double the capacity of the existing one. In addition to research, the new hydroponic capability will provide an opportunity to grow food for campus students.
- Federally-funded researchers at Western Illinois University are working on a new hydroponics system made out of cheap materials like PVC.
- The WIU research team is now using their hydroponics system, along with a special nutrient solution, to grow “Rex” butterhead lettuce more efficiently.
- The WIU team says that the lettuce grown with their hydroponics system matures more quickly than regular lettuce, does not require pesticide, and also tastes better than traditionally-grown lettuce.
“Henning and Atherton are now attempting to improve nutrient recommendations for hydroponic lettuce in order to save producers both time and input costs.”