Effect of nitrogen form on the growth and nitrate concentration of lettuce
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A pot experiment with lettuce involving three N forms each at six application levels, showed that lettuce can be grown satisfactorily with a very low nitrate content when supplied with ammonium sulphate and a nitrification inhibitor. For plants growing on nitrate N, the optimum midrib sap nitrate concentration as maturity approached was about 1400 mg/1 NO3-N. Large losses of mineral N were observed from the peat medium, even in the absence of plants.
A relationship is presented which would enable a lettuce grower to estimate whole-shoot nitrate concentration from a quick test of midrib sapi.e. NO3-N (mg/kg in fresh shoot) =0.14×NO3-N (mg/l in sap).
Tipburn was worst at intermediate levels of applied N, and was less serious with pure ammonium nutrition than with nitrate.
Key wordsAmmonium Critical nitrate concentration Lettuce Midrib Nitrification inhibitor Nitrapyrin Sap test
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