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Ascorbic Acid and Tocopherol Concentration of Hydroponic and Soil-Grown Lettuces
AdvisorOmaye, Stanley T.
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Self-reliance in food production is an accomplishment that has fallen by the wayside. As we rely more heavily on mass-produced food, we begin to lose touch with one of the most basic needs of life: feeding ourselves. Few people in the world have the luxury of tillable land, yet most of us fail to utilize our meager backyard plots to supplement our diets. It can be a daunting task to till the land, fertilize the soil, and water frequently. When the land is not fertile, as is the case in the desert, it may be an impossible feat. This is where the hydroponic method of crop cultivation can help provide the means to grow a garden. If people starving in third world countries could grow plants out of water, they could be nourished on much more than cassava root or rice. Hydroponically-grown produce may be a way of helping to feed the world, regardless of soil quality, space availability or climate. The objective of this study was to determine whether hydroponically-grown lettuce contains as much ascorbic acid and tocopherol as soil-grown lettuce. We analyzed four varieties of lettuce, including: Waldmann's Dark Green, Red Lollo Antago, Red Romaine Annapolis, and Butterleaf. The first three were obtained from the Mountain View Montessori of Reno's greenhouse. Butterleaf was purchased locally. Results suggest that selected hydroponically grown lettuce varieties are significantly higher in both ascorbic acid and tocopherol content than their soil-grown counterparts. This would imply that hydroponic gardening is a viable option for producing nutritious fruits and vegetables.