Ginger Cultivation

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Ginger (Zingiber officinale) bud in tissue culture.
Ginger bud in liquid culture medium.
Plantlet transplanted into perlite, ready to move into greenhouse.
Young plants in an aeroponic "nursery" in the greenhouse.
Aeroponic units showing unheated treatment (left), and treatment with heated nutrient solution (right).
Mature plants in an aeroponic unit opened to show roots.
Young rhizomes growing in aeroponic unit.
Close-up of ginger roots in aeroponic culture.
A blue ring visible in the cross-section of a ginger rhizome.
Ginger flower in bloom. One or two flowers open from the bud at dusk each night.
This work was sponsored by the Pilot Project Program of the Arizona Center for Phytomedicine Research (ACPRx). Grant # P50 AT00474 (2001).

Aeroponic Cultivation of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Rhizomes

Anita L. Hayden, Native American Botanics Corp, Tucson, Arizona USA

Lindy A. Brigham & Gene A. Giacomelli, University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona USA


Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) rhizomes are popular as a spice and an herbal dietary supplement. The anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea qualities of ginger have applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Conventionally grown as a tropical field crop, ginger is plagued by soil-borne disease and nematode problems. Aeroponic cultivation of ginger can provide high-quality rhizomes that are free from pesticides and nematodes and can be produced in mild-winter greenhouses. An experiment involving 34 ginger plants grown in aeroponics was performed in a temperature controlled greenhouse in Tucson, Arizona. The unique aeroponic growing units incorporated a “rhizome compartment” separated and elevated above an aeroponic spray chamber. Bottom heat was supplied to one half ofthe plants. Accelerated growth was observed in plants receiving bottom heat. One third of the plants were grown in units where the rhizome compartment was filled with perlite, one third in sphagnum moss, and one third without any aggregate medium. Those plants grown in perlite matured faster than the other treatments. The aeroponic units without aggregate medium provided an opportunity to photograph the growth habit of rhizomes over a three month period. Those images were incorporated into a 60-second digital movie that dramatically illustrates how underground rhizomes develop and grow.

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Copyright 2003-05 Anita L. Hayden