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New Perspectives on the Maintenance of Aqueous Ozone Residuals in Greenhouse and Nursery Irrigation Solutions

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Title: New Perspectives on the Maintenance of Aqueous Ozone Residuals in Greenhouse and Nursery Irrigation Solutions
Author: Graham, Gary Thomas
Department: School of Environmental Sciences
Program: Environmental Science
Advisor: Dixon, Michael A.
Abstract: Ozonation has been utilized for water treatment for over 100 years. During that time, the range of applications has grown considerably, and includes the remediation of nursery and greenhouse irrigation water. Ozone is dissolved into irrigation water to kill pathogens and degrade chemical contaminants. By convention, growers remove ozone from solutions, prior to distribution to the crop, to avoid phytotoxic effects. The available literature regarding aqueous ozone (O3(aq)) phytotoxicity is limited, making this a sagacious practice, although the removal does preclude any ancillary benefits beyond the point of treatment. The effects of applying O3(aq) under two irrigation systems are examined. Initial studies suggested O3(aq) concentrations as high as 20 mg⋅L-1 could be applied directly to mineral wool substrate in a limited (one time) fashion without a negative response. To be effective as a remediation tool, however, ozone would need to be applied more frequently (e.g. daily). The effects of daily O3(aq) application, via drip irrigation in mineral wool hydroponic tomato culture, was examined. In the first of two studies, daily applications of 3.0 mg⋅L-1 O3(aq) elicited an overall positive growth response. In a follow-up study, 6.0 mg L-1 elicited a negative response. Nursery operators often utilize overhead irrigation. A study was conducted to determine if overhead irrigation utilizing O3(aq) was compatible with select woody perennial nursery species. The amount of ozone lost from solution during application was examined, as well as crop response to the ozone environment generated. It was shown that 60 to 70% of the ozone was unaccounted for at canopy level, while phytotoxic effects were elicited at emitter concentrations above 1.5 mg L-1. Marchantia polymorpha is a significant weed species in greenhouse and nursery production; a species with few control options. Anatomical features of M. polymorpha suggested sensitivity to O3(aq). Studies were performed to examine contact time (CT) and exposure frequencies required for M. polymorpha suppression. A CT of 0.84 mg⋅L-1⋅min at an application frequency of 3-times/week achieved measurable suppression.
Date: 2012-08
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