Quantitative nutrient management has advantages, such as saving resources and improving nutrient utilization, compared with the conventional electrical conductivity management method. The growth and nutrient utilization of vegetables are affected by the integrated environmental conditions such as nutrient supply and light spectrum. This study investigated the effects of applied nutrient quantity (ANQ) (0.5, 1, 2, and 4 times (T) the absorption quantity of nutrients determined in the preliminary experiment, indicated by 0.5T, 1T, 2T, and 4T, respectively) in nutrient solution and red:blue ratio (R:B = 3:7, 7:3, and 9:1, indicated by RB3:7, RB7:3, and RB9:1, respectively) on the growth and nutrient utilization of basil plants in a plant factory with artificial lighting. Results demonstrated that the nutrient use efficiency (NUE) and the nutrient absorption efficiency (NAE) were significantly increased by the ANQ of 0.5T compared with the treatments of 1T, 2T, and 4T, irrespective of R:B ratios. Furthermore, under the ANQ of 0.5T, RB7:3 significantly increased the yield and the absorption of N and K of the basil plant compared with other R:B ratios. Therefore, the ANQ of 0.5T combined with RB7:3 was considered the optimal combination to improve the yield, NUE, and NAE of basil plants in the present study.
Keywords: LEDs; hydroponics; nutrient use efficiency; plant factory; quantitative nutrient management; red:blue ratio.