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The last two decades have brought a significant modernization in methods of cultivation in greenhouses. Soilless cultures, isolated from soils, have become a common practice, similarly as fertigation (fertilization + irrigation) installations, although most of them are applied in the open system (with no recirculation), where excess nutrient solution is removed straight to soil. This situation was the reason why it was decided to conduct studies, extended over a period of many years, on the estimation of environmental pollution caused by discharged drainage waters containing mineral fertilizers in economically important cultures in Poland (anthurium, tomato, cucumber). On the basis of the chemical composition of drainage waters and amounts of nutrient solution spillway from culture beds data were estimated concerning pollution of the soil medium by the nutrient solution. The level of pollution was dependent on nutrient requirements of crops and the length of the vegetation period. The highest environmental pollution is caused by intensive tomato growing (in kg·month·ha-1): N-NO3 (up to 245), K (up to 402), Ca (up to 145) and S-SO4 (up to 102). A lesser threat is posed by metal microelements: Fe (up to 2.69), Mn (up to 0.19), Zn (up to 0.52) and Cu (up to 0.09). Lower contamination of the natural environment is generated in cultures with lower nutrient requirements (anthurium) and in the case of culture on organic substrates. With an increase in ecological awareness of producers recirculation systems should be implemented in the production practice, in which drainage waters do not migrate directly to soil, but are repeatedly used to feed crops.
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