Exploring the mineral uptake and distribution of roses, with focus on the Na uptake

The experiment is part of a project framework dealing with salinity, in particular Na accumulation, in soilless grown greenhouse crops. Currently a large trial is carried out on roses ‘Avalanche’, where we experienced a surprising effect, showing some interaction between the K and the Na uptake. At increased Na concentrations in the root environment, the Na content in young leaves did only increase very slightly, indicating the low uptake capacity for Na by roses. However, it seems that when K is low, the Na uptake increased disproportionally.
The questions to be solved are: Can we repeat this phenomenon? what is the critical K concentration, is there an effect of EC, where is the Na distributed in the plant and related questions.

Used skills

Conceptual: After reading the reports, related literature and evaluation of the systems and conditions, design an experimental approach, including the sampling and analytical procedure that will give answer to the questions.
Experimental: conducting the trials, routine measurements of the parameters of the water- and nutrient flows ( EC, pH nutrients, drainage, water use), as well as determination of yields/biomass, sampling plant tissue.
Report: writing a scientifically sound report about the trial, including a review of literature on this topic. Rooted rose cuttings will be grown from the beginning to an adult stage ( approx. 3 months) in a completely hydroponic system. Several treatments with specific Na and K and EC concentrations will be applied.
Nutrient solutions will be controlled and managed intensively. All input and output (biomass) will be carefully gathered and sent to the lab for analysis. At termination, plants will be divided into various organs and analysed. Mineral balances will be calculated by two approaches: the depletion method and the biomass method.

The experiments will be executed at the research location of Wageningen-UR greenhouse crops in Bleiswijk, candidates are expected to work at least 3 days/week in Bleiswijk during the experimental period. Period from March – July/August 2022, with the experimental period in the greenhouse being March-June.

Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.