species

and

cultivars.


The


basic


principle


of


Aeroponic


growing


is


to


grow

plants

suspended


in


a

closed


or
semi
-

closed


environment


by

spraying


the


plant's

dangling


roots


and

lower


stem

with


an

atomized

or


sprayed,
nutrient
-

rich

water


solution.


The


leaves


and

crown,


often


called

the


"canopy",


extend


above.
The

roots


of


the


plant


are


separated


by

the


plant


support


structure.


Many


times


closed


cell


foam

is
compressed

around

the


lower


stem

and

inserted

into

an

opening

in


the


Aeroponic


chamber,


which

decreases
labor

and

expense;

for


larger

plants,


trellising

is


used

to


suspend


the


weight


of


vegetation

and

fruit.


Due


to


the
sensitivity

of


root


systems,


Aeroponics


is


often


combined


with


conventional


hydroponics,


which

is


used

as

an
emergency

"crop

saver"


backup


nutrition

and

water


supply



if

the


Aeroponic


apparatus


fails.

High-

pressure
Aeroponics

is


defined


as

delivering


nutrients


to


the


roots


via


20–50


micro

-

meter

mist


heads


using


a

high

-
pressure

(80


pounds


per


square

inch


(550


kPa))


diaphragm

pump.
Benefits
and

drawbacks
Ecological

advantages
Aeroponic

growing


is


considered


to


be

safe


and

ecologically


friendly


for


producing


natural,


healthy


plants

and
crops.

The


main

ecological


advantages

of


Aeroponics


are


the


conservation

of


water


and

energy.


When
compared

to


hydroponics,


Aeroponics


offers


lower


water


and

energy

inputs

per


square

meter

of


growing
area.

When

used

commercially,


Aeroponics


uses

one-

tenth


of


the


water


otherwise


necessary

to


grow

the


crop
but

this

can

be

reduced

to


as

little


as

one-

twentieth.
Increased

air

exposure
Close-
up

of


the


first


patented


Aeroponic


plant


support


structure


(1983).


Its

unrestricted


support


of


the
plant

allows


for


normal

growth


in


the


air/moisture


environment,


and

is


still


in


use

today.


Air


cultures


optimize
access
to


air

for


successful


plant


growth.


Materials

and

devices


which

hold


and

support


the


Aeroponic


grown
plants
must


be

devoid


of


disease


or


pathogens.
A
distinction


of


a

true


Aeroponic


culture


and

apparatus


is


that


it

provides


plant


support


features

that


are
minimal.

Minimal


contact


between


a

plant


and

support


structure


allows


for


100%

of


the


plant


to


be

entirely


in
air.

Long

-

term

Aeroponic


cultivation


requires

the


root


systems

to


be

free


of


constraints


surrounding


the


stem
and
root


systems.


Physical


contact


is


minimized


so

that


it

does

not


hinder


natural

growth


and

root
expansion
or


access

to


pure


water,


air

exchange


and

disease

-

free


conditions.
Benefits

of


oxygen


in


the


root


zone
Oxygen

in


the


rhizosphere


(root

zone)


is


necessary

for


healthy


plant


growth.


As

Aeroponics


is


conducted

in


air
combined

with


micro

-

droplets

of


water,


almost


any

plant


can

grow

to


maturity

in


air

with


a

plentiful


supply


of
oxygen,

water


and

nutrients.


Some

growers

favor


Aeroponic


systems

over


other


methods


of


hydroponics
because

of


the


increased


aeration

of


nutrient


solution


delivers


more


oxygen


to


plant


roots,


stimulating


growth
and
helping


to


prevent


pathogen

formation.
Clean
air

supplies

oxygen


which

is


an

excellent


purifier

for


plants

and

the


Aeroponic


environment.


For

natural
growth

to


occur


the


plant


must


have

unrestricted


access

to


air.


Plants


must


be

allowed


to


grow

in


a

natural
manner

for


successful


physiological


development.


The


more


confining


the


plant


support


becomes

the


greater