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Cooling lettuce roots boosts crop growth

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Israeli crop technology company Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Ltd says that trails of its proprietary Root Zone Temperature Optimization (RZTO) system have demonstrated the benefits of optimal root temperature on Romaine lettuce.

Trials conducted in Israel this summers showed a 132 per cent increase in lettuce leaf fresh weight, while the crop’s growing cycle was reduced by almost half, with the crop ready for harvesting in 27 days. The company said that the trial followed successful RZTO cooling proof of concepts on lettuce using Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) technologies and interim results in medicinal cannabis.

Using a hybrid ground source heat exchange version of the RZTO system, lettuce roots were cooled to remain relatively stable around 24 degrees centigrade, despite air temperatures in the greenhouse regularly topping 34 degrees. In comparison, root temperature of control plantings fluctuated between 28 and 34 degrees.

Company CEO Dr Sharon Devir said that the results highlighted the many benefits of root zone cooling; “Cooling the roots of lettuce plants in summer not only significantly increases crop yield but also reduces the growing cycle duration and increase yield uniformity. These benefits together could help farmers plan for increased annual crop production and, therefore, increased income. Our RZTO systems are versatile and can be used to cool the roots of crops in open fields, grow bags, hydroponic and in soil.”

Photo Caption: The trial increased harvested fresh weight of Romaine lettuce.

Photo Credit: pxhere

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