New Hydroponic System for Testing Mineral Nutrient Deficiencies: Quinoa

A. M. Lambert, D. L. Cole, D. T. Heidenreich, S. H. Stapley, R. L. Buck, B. G. Hopkins
Brigham Young University
  • Need: Nutrient deficiency symptoms and concentrations in quinoa plants as reference material for farmers to help them maximize their yields.
  • Problem: Difficult to manipulate nutrient concentrations in soils. Many hydroponic recipes use dual-nutrient compounds creating interactions. 
  • Solution: Create a new solution recipe with each nutrient added in a single nutrient compound and use it to record nutrient deficiency symptoms in quinoa.
  • Effectively induced deficiencies of all nutrients (especially N, P, & K, as shown below) except Mn, Fe, B, Mo, and Cl, which need additional modifications.
Materials & Methods
  • Quinoa (Chenopodium Quinoa L)
  • 3 replicates of 14 treatments, including a positive control with optimum nutrition compared to deficient treatments of; N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Cu, Fe, B, Mo, and Cl.
  • Nutrient solution:
    • Sulfuric, phosphoric, hydrochloric, and boric acids
    • K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Cu carbonates
    • Mn acetate
    • Na molybdate
    • Fe 6% chelate (EDDHA)
    • HEDTA as a chelate
Nutrient: N P K S Ca Mg Zn
Micromolarity: 11,000 750 3960 2150 3960 1070 4.2
Nutrient: Fe Mn Cu B Cl Mo HEDTA
Micromolarity 29.8 8.1 0.7 22.6 39.8 0.2 104
  • Deficient treatments received only 10% of given concentration except for N, K, Zn, and Mn which received 20%
  • Plants grown in a growth chamber in 14 L containers
  • 12/12h light/dark period, 25/19 °C high/low
  • Seeds placed in filtered, rinsed pea gravel, suspended over nutrient solutions
Conclusions & Citations
  • Effectively grew healthy quinoa plants to maturity with this new solution.
  • Effectively created nutrient deficiency symptoms for most nutrients, which provides tissue analysis data and visual deficiency symptoms currently lacking in the literature and in farm management guides. 
  • Further work is needed with reduced concentrations of Mn, Fe, B, Mo,  and Cl.
For additional information see: 
Cole, D.L., R.K. Woolley, A. Tyler, R. L. Buck, B. G. Hopkins. 2020. Mineral nutrient deficiencies in quinoa grown in hydroponics with single nutrient salt/acid/chelate sources. J. Plant Nutr. 43