Open Cultural System

Definition - What does Open Cultural System mean?

An open cultural system, or open culture system, is a hydroponics system in which the nutrients and water (nutrient solution) are not reused or recirculated. The systems are often passive systems, requiring no electricity.

An open cultural system saves growers on energy costs because pumps are not utilized to pump the nutrients and water back to the plants on a daily basis.

Also, the water's pH balance and nutrient levels with the solution do not need to be regularly checked like they do when the nutrients and water are recycled.

MaximumYield explains Open Cultural System

With an open cultural system, plants are grown hydroponically in a greenhouse. The plant's roots are contained in a soilless substrate. Nutrients and water are allowed to pass through the soilless medium and around the roots.

When an open cultural system is used in hydroponics, the nutrients and water are collected and discarded. When using an open cultural system, most plants will consume around half a gallon of nutrients and water per hour with drip irrigation. The rest of the mixture runs away and must be collected to be released into the environment.

Despite the many advantages to utilizing an open cultural system in the greenhouse, one of the main problems growers face is what to do with the nutrients and water if they do not recycle. The water/nutrient solution can contaminate sewers and cause problems such as algae blooms. In order to safely dispose of the solution, it must be processed.

Energy cost-savings of open-culture hydroponic systems are often offset by the increased water and nutrient costs.

The opposite of the open-cultural hydroponic system is simply called a closed system or a recirculating system.

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