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Analysis of Horticultural Substrates

BU Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University & Research is equipped with several laboratories, growth chambers and greenhouse compartments fit for state of the art measurement and research on substrates for horticultural purposes.

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BU Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University & Research has experience with many substrates as mineral fibres, mineral granulates, synthetic fibres and foams as well as peat products, potting soils and composts.

A range of national and international test methods (often developed by our experts) may be performed. Tests may be physical, chemical or biological in nature and include rewetting rate, air and moisture characteristics, durability and phytoxicity.

BU Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University & Research used its experience in testing in making an introductory program fore clients involved in introducing or developing new substrates: "Stepwise assessment of horticultural substrate". This program can also be used to evaluate and improve existing substrates.

For new substrates, it is important to know in an early stage whether or not the  demands for professional horticulture are met. Such demands may be measured with international or national test methods or adaptations on them. Typical measurements are moisture characteristics, absence of toxicity and durability. Our experts developed a stepwise series of tests for the development and assessment of new substrates.

  • Basic analyses

    By starting with a choice from basic analyses it becomes clear in an early stage and at moderate costs whether the material has potential. Measurements may include microscopic analysis, root penetration resistance, sinking rate and phytotoxicity.

  • Essential analyses

    The essential analyses provide information on moisture characteristics, rate of rewetting, chemical analysis and durability of the product.

  • Special analyses

    Examples of special analyses are shrinkage, particle size analysis and hydraulic conductivity. Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture may also advice to adapt existing measurement methods to better suit the purpose. There already is a range of unique material specific tests.

  • Growth analyses

    The ultimate goal is to grow plants. Therefore a range of growth test, increasing in costs and duration, are offered to assess the growth potential over several weeks up to a year or longer.