Vol 117 (2004): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society

A solution for the cationic [sup+]/anionic [sup-] balance problem in mineral nutrition studies

Randall P. Niedz
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Published December 1, 2004
  • plant tissue culture,
  • culture medium,
  • linear programming,
  • software


Designing culture media for mineral nutrition studies is a complicated problem. In order to change the concentration of a single cation or anion it is generally necessary to change the complementary cat-/anion of a salt complex. Consequently, it often becomes necessary to simultaneously alter both the type and/or concentration of multiple salts to achieve a final set of media that differ only in the concentration of a single ion; when the objective is to alter the concentration of multiple ions the problem's complexity is increased exponentially. The cationic[sup+]/anionic[sup-] balance problem is easily solved by linear programming (LP), a technique of applied mathematics devised specifically for solving a wide range of practical, complex, resource allocation problems such as scheduling, mixing, blending, and routing. The cationic[sup+]/anionic[sup-] balance problem, how it is easily solved using LP techniques, and a public domain software program designed for nutrient formulation research will be presented.