Plant and Soil

, Volume 266, Issue 1–2, pp 343–354 | Cite as

Control of nutrient solutions for studies at high pH

  • Peter M. Kopittke
  • Neal W. Menzies


Little is known about factors effecting plant growth at high pH, with research often limited by the inability to separate nutritional deficiencies and HCO 3 toxicity from the direct limitations imposed under high pH conditions. Various methods of controlling dilute nutrient solutions for studies at high pH were investigated. For short-term studies, it was found that a solution without Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn and aerated with CO2 depleted air, greatly reduced nutrient precipitation at high pH, thus eliminating nutritional differences between treatments. Manual pH adjustment and the use of ion exchange resins as pH buffers were unsuitable methods of pH control. However, pH control by automated titration had little effect on solution composition while maintaining constant pH. The system described is suitable for studies in which the pH of the bulk nutrient solution must be maintained. The system was used to examine OH toxicity in mungbeans (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek cv. Emerald), with root length reduced at a bulk solution pH of 8.5 and greater.

Key words

alkaline high pH hydroxyl ion ion exchange resin root growth seedling nutrient requirement 





electrical conductivity


inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy


least significant difference


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Mined Land RehabilitationUniversity of QueenslandQueenslandAustralia

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