When using Arabidopsis grown hydroponically for gene and drug discovery, a method for translating this approach to crop (and weed) species needs articulation and investigation. In this review, we describe existing inexpensive, frequently aseptic, hydroponic systems for Arabidopsis and compare them to other hydroponic methods for gene and drug discovery in crop plants. Besides gene and drug discovery, an important use of hydroponic analysis is for understanding growth in controlled, enclosed systems, such as during spaceflight and in simulated extra-terrestrial environments. When done initially with Arabidopsis, will these results apply to the growth of other species? We highlight the strengths and weaknesses of existing translational hydroponic approaches whereby results with Arabidopsis extend to other plant species. We find that the existing or slightly modified hydroponic approaches used in Arabidopsis research extend well to crop plants that grow upright about 40 cm in height, e.g., monocots, such as rice, and dicots, such as soybean. However, other, taller species such as maize, or vining species such as tomato, require extensive modification to provide larger enclosures and root stabilization.
Part of the book: Urban Horticulture