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The Cultivation of Arabidopsis for Experimental Research Using Commercially Available Peat-Based and Peat-Free Growing Media.

Drake T, Keating M, Summers R, Yochikawa A, Pitman T, Dodd AN - PLoS ONE (2016)

Bottom Line: Moreover, peat extraction reduces peatland biodiversity and releases stored carbon and methane into the atmosphere.Arabidopsis biomass accumulation and seed yield were reduced by cultivation on several types of peat-free growing media.Overall, we conclude that Arabidopsis performs best when cultivated on peat-based growing media because seed yield was almost always reduced when peat-free media were used.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol Life Sciences Building, 24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Experimental research involving Arabidopsis thaliana often involves the quantification of phenotypic traits during cultivation on compost or other growing media. Many commercially-available growing media contain peat, but peat extraction is not sustainable due to its very slow rate of formation. Moreover, peat extraction reduces peatland biodiversity and releases stored carbon and methane into the atmosphere. Here, we compared the experimental performance of Arabidopsis on peat-based and several types of commercially-available peat-free growing media (variously formed from coir, composted bark, wood-fibre, and domestic compost), to provide guidance for reducing peat use in plant sciences research with Arabidopsis. Arabidopsis biomass accumulation and seed yield were reduced by cultivation on several types of peat-free growing media. Arabidopsis performed extremely poorly on coir alone, presumably because this medium was completely nitrate-free. Some peat-free growing media were more susceptible to fungal contamination. We found that autoclaving of control (peat-based) growing media had no effect upon any physiological parameters that we examined, compared with non-autoclaved control growing media, under our experimental conditions. Overall, we conclude that Arabidopsis performs best when cultivated on peat-based growing media because seed yield was almost always reduced when peat-free media were used. This may be because standard laboratory protocols and growth conditions for Arabidopsis are optimized for peat-based media. However, during the vegetative growth phase several phenotypic traits were comparable between plants cultivated on peat-based and some peat-free media, suggesting that under certain circumstances peat-free media can be suitable for phenotypic analysis of Arabidopsis.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Chemical and physical properties of growing media compared in the study.(a) pH and nitrate composition and (b) phosphorus and potassium content of media (N = 4). (c) Water retention of growing media in the absence of plants, under our growing conditions (determined from two horticultural trays of 24 compartments each per growing media). (d) Particle size distribution of non-autoclaved growing media. (a, b, c) For each growing medium, N indicates native (non autoclaved) and A indicates that the medium was autoclaved.
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pone.0153625.g008: Chemical and physical properties of growing media compared in the study.(a) pH and nitrate composition and (b) phosphorus and potassium content of media (N = 4). (c) Water retention of growing media in the absence of plants, under our growing conditions (determined from two horticultural trays of 24 compartments each per growing media). (d) Particle size distribution of non-autoclaved growing media. (a, b, c) For each growing medium, N indicates native (non autoclaved) and A indicates that the medium was autoclaved.

Mentions: We compared key physical properties of the growing media (Fig 8). Peat-based Levington media, Sylvamix wood-based media and coir were roughly pH neutral, whereas Westland was slightly acidic, and domestic compost slightly alkaline (Fig 8A). Coir, Sylvamix and domestic compost had low nitrate content compared with the Levington control and Westland media (Fig 8A). Coir was also low in phosphorous and the Levington control contained relatively little potassium compared with other media types (Fig 8B). The growing media lost water to the atmosphere at similar rates, except for domestic compost, which retained water for longer (Fig 8C). The growing media tested had significant differences in the proportion of particles ≤ 2mm (p < 0.001). Coir was dominated by smaller particles than the Levington peat-based control media, whereas Westland wood-based compost and domestic compost contained rather more large particles (p < 0.001 in all cases; ANOVA and post-hoc Tukey analysis). This means that overall, coir had a very fine texture whereas Westland, Sylvamix and Domestic had coarser textures than the Levington peat-based control.


The Cultivation of Arabidopsis for Experimental Research Using Commercially Available Peat-Based and Peat-Free Growing Media.

Drake T, Keating M, Summers R, Yochikawa A, Pitman T, Dodd AN - PLoS ONE (2016)

Chemical and physical properties of growing media compared in the study.(a) pH and nitrate composition and (b) phosphorus and potassium content of media (N = 4). (c) Water retention of growing media in the absence of plants, under our growing conditions (determined from two horticultural trays of 24 compartments each per growing media). (d) Particle size distribution of non-autoclaved growing media. (a, b, c) For each growing medium, N indicates native (non autoclaved) and A indicates that the medium was autoclaved.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4835059&req=5

pone.0153625.g008: Chemical and physical properties of growing media compared in the study.(a) pH and nitrate composition and (b) phosphorus and potassium content of media (N = 4). (c) Water retention of growing media in the absence of plants, under our growing conditions (determined from two horticultural trays of 24 compartments each per growing media). (d) Particle size distribution of non-autoclaved growing media. (a, b, c) For each growing medium, N indicates native (non autoclaved) and A indicates that the medium was autoclaved.
Mentions: We compared key physical properties of the growing media (Fig 8). Peat-based Levington media, Sylvamix wood-based media and coir were roughly pH neutral, whereas Westland was slightly acidic, and domestic compost slightly alkaline (Fig 8A). Coir, Sylvamix and domestic compost had low nitrate content compared with the Levington control and Westland media (Fig 8A). Coir was also low in phosphorous and the Levington control contained relatively little potassium compared with other media types (Fig 8B). The growing media lost water to the atmosphere at similar rates, except for domestic compost, which retained water for longer (Fig 8C). The growing media tested had significant differences in the proportion of particles ≤ 2mm (p < 0.001). Coir was dominated by smaller particles than the Levington peat-based control media, whereas Westland wood-based compost and domestic compost contained rather more large particles (p < 0.001 in all cases; ANOVA and post-hoc Tukey analysis). This means that overall, coir had a very fine texture whereas Westland, Sylvamix and Domestic had coarser textures than the Levington peat-based control.

Bottom Line: Moreover, peat extraction reduces peatland biodiversity and releases stored carbon and methane into the atmosphere.Arabidopsis biomass accumulation and seed yield were reduced by cultivation on several types of peat-free growing media.Overall, we conclude that Arabidopsis performs best when cultivated on peat-based growing media because seed yield was almost always reduced when peat-free media were used.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol Life Sciences Building, 24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Experimental research involving Arabidopsis thaliana often involves the quantification of phenotypic traits during cultivation on compost or other growing media. Many commercially-available growing media contain peat, but peat extraction is not sustainable due to its very slow rate of formation. Moreover, peat extraction reduces peatland biodiversity and releases stored carbon and methane into the atmosphere. Here, we compared the experimental performance of Arabidopsis on peat-based and several types of commercially-available peat-free growing media (variously formed from coir, composted bark, wood-fibre, and domestic compost), to provide guidance for reducing peat use in plant sciences research with Arabidopsis. Arabidopsis biomass accumulation and seed yield were reduced by cultivation on several types of peat-free growing media. Arabidopsis performed extremely poorly on coir alone, presumably because this medium was completely nitrate-free. Some peat-free growing media were more susceptible to fungal contamination. We found that autoclaving of control (peat-based) growing media had no effect upon any physiological parameters that we examined, compared with non-autoclaved control growing media, under our experimental conditions. Overall, we conclude that Arabidopsis performs best when cultivated on peat-based growing media because seed yield was almost always reduced when peat-free media were used. This may be because standard laboratory protocols and growth conditions for Arabidopsis are optimized for peat-based media. However, during the vegetative growth phase several phenotypic traits were comparable between plants cultivated on peat-based and some peat-free media, suggesting that under certain circumstances peat-free media can be suitable for phenotypic analysis of Arabidopsis.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus