Dynamics of nutrient uptake in raspberry plants
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The goal of this work was to evaluate the effects of different mineral nutrient uptake in raspberry soilless cultivation, with the aim to optimize and reduce the use of mineral fertilizers (especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), thereby allowing potential benefits for business (lower costs), as well as for improving sustainability of the production technique. The experimental hypothesis was that it is possible to produce soilless raspberries by greatly reducing the concentration of mineral elements in the solution, while maintaining unchanged the main vegetative and productive performances of the plant, as well the quality of the fruits. Experiment was conducted with long cane plants of two cultivars: Tulameen and Vajolet. The effect of different applied mineral solution was evident in both the macronutrients concentration in the plant organs and in the production performance of Tulameen only. Treatments did not affect vegetative growth that was mainly driven by the different cultivars habitus. Raspberry quality was only partially influenced by treatments, with fruits fertilized with lower amount of nitrogen showing higher final accumulation of phenolic compounds. To conclude, our experimental hypothesis was partially demonstrated. The indication of a lower yield associated to lower nitrogen supply must be further investigated giving the low productivity level showed by plants during the season.