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Basil (Ocimum spp.) is a popular annual culinary and medicinal herb contains essential oils. Numerous researchers have studied the effects of fertilizer level on the growth and oil yield of basil, but in most studies, basil was grown in the field during the summer. Our experiment was conducted in a controlled environment greenhouse using a capillary mat system during the winter with a goal of increasing dry weight for fresh produce and basil essential oil. The 7-month experiment was conducted to determine the optimal production timeline and fertilizer levels for eight basil cultivars grown in a soilless mix. We found that for most sweet basil cultivars (Ocimum basilicum), later harvest led to higher dry weight yield. In most cases, the additional supplement of slow release fertilizer (12N-3.1P-14.9K: 6g and 9g) increased the dry weight yield compared to the control (100 ppm N from 20N-4.4P-16.6K soluble fertilizer only), but there was no significant difference between the 2 levels. ‘Mrs. Burns’ Lemon’ (Ocimum basilicum) had the largest flower dry weight. ‘Holy’ basil (Ocimum sanctum) didn’t grow well in the capillary mat system, so tissue culture was thought to be a suitable production method. In this study, 3 media [Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium, Woody Plant medium (WPM), and DKW medium], and 4 treatments of plant growth regulators [the control, 0.1 mg indole-3-butyric acid (IBA)/L, 50 μM thidiazuron (TDZ), 0.1 mg IBA/L + 50 μM TDZ], were compared to see whether they could be used to grow ‘Holy’ plants successfully. ‘Dolly’, a classic sweet basil cultivar was also tested to see if there was a different effect between basil species. We found that both ‘Holy’ and ‘Dolly’ explants cultured on DKW medium didn’t survive, and the explants cultured on MS medium grew better and had higher fresh and dry weight and heights than those grown on WPM. The explants supplied with TDZ didn’t grow well and had low survival rate while those supplied with nothing or IBA alone grew well.
Advisor: Ellen T. Paparozzi