Why does one vegetable taste better than the other?
Relatively little is said about the Brix-values within hydroponics cultivation. And it is precisely this that is important to improve the quality of your product. After all, it is known that the taste of vegetables is optimal and healthy when it contains the full spectrum of minerals and nutrients. The higher the sugar content, the better the quality of your vegetables or fruit. You can therefore also say that you can directly link the mineral content and the protein content to the sugar content. So the higher the BRIX number, the higher the mineral and protein content and the healthier and more nutritious the vegetable or fruit. BRIX is a unit for measuring the refractive index, in the same way as Fahrenheit or Celsius is a temperature measurement. In the case of Fahrenheit, the properties of water were used to calculate a scale based on the thermal behavior. The two ends of the dish were divided by 180 ° F, yielding 32 ° F for the freezing point of water and 212 ° F for the boiling point.
In the case of BRIX, a sugar (sucrose) solution was used to develop the scale. At random, the refractive index of pure water (RI = 1.333) was simply defined as “0” BRIX. The rest of the scale was calibrated to be read directly as a percentage of sucrose (i.e., BRIX). The Refractive Index (RI) indicates the tendency of light to bend while passing through a liquid. A cup of pure water will bend light that passes through. When solids are dissolved in a beaker of water, the light will increasingly bend as the concentration increases. This was a useful reference because it was used to check when fruit was ripe and ready to harvest. Nowadays, the BRIX scale is widely used in the food industry for measuring the estimated amount of sugars in fruit, vegetables, juices, wine and soft drinks. It is also used in the metalworking industry as a convenient way to control water-based lubricant concentration. But you do not hear much about it in hydroponics. The reason is probably that a tomato and lettuce grown on hydroponics and water-based, has a very low BRIX content and a biological tomato has a very high BRIX content. You not only taste a sweeter taste, but also a fuller taste. There are also less harmful nitrates in food with a high BRIX number.
If this so-called BRIX level is low, there are no nutrients in the plant, so the nitrate content is very high. This is inextricably linked. The Brix value indicates very simply how many dissolved sugars a liquid contains. This makes it a widely used method to measure the quality of fruit and vegetables. A higher Brix value generally indicates better quality. Taking a brix measurement should be a standard procedure for hydroponic crop consultants. For example, if a leaf sample shows a low brix in a hydroponic culture in a tomato greenhouse, the first thing the consultant often recommends is increasing the potassium. Potassium is a catalyst for the metabolism of carbohydrates, which increases brix. Excess nitrates burn carbohydrates and lower the brix. In fact, almost 30% of the energy of photosynthesis is used to assimilate the nitrates! So to ensure a high brix, do not give the plants more nitrates than they need. Excess nitrates produce large cells with thin cell walls, making them a target for pests and diseases. And because the sugars are incinerated to produce more top growth, the root growth can be limited and the production of fruit and flowers can be delayed. A brix refractometer can display the characters before it is too late.
And that is unfortunate because unlike a crop grown in the soil, the brix of a fruit or vegetable in a hydroponic environment can be carefully and precisely adjusted by the grower. For example, the brix value can be increased or decreased by changing the potassium / nitrate ratio in the water solution or by adding fulvic acids, humic acids or amino acid mixtures. Although the argument against hydroponics is that the brix value only indicates the sugar content and that a small strawberry, for example, can have a very high brix, because there is very little water to mix with sugar. And that a large juicy watermelon can have a very low brix due to the high percentage of water. This does not mean that the watermelon is unhealthy, only that it is very well hydrated. Of course this is a weak argument, because the values of each individual brix level or fruit is known. And a small difference is not an argument. The difference is that a lettuce from a hydroponics culture has a value of 2 and a biological origin 12. Then a simple test with comparable size and weight is simple to perform. You can easily test it yourself. Take a tomato and put it in the water. A poor quality tomato floats or sinks very slowly. A qualitative tomato sinks quickly.
Brix is a measure of the amount of dissolved solids, sugar, in a liquid. The device refractometer indicates how much mass% of the liquid is solid. The Brix value is widely used in the processing of agricultural products for measuring the quality of fruit and vegetables. In general, the higher the Brix value, the better the quality. Higher Brix values indicate a sweeter taste and a better shelf life.
“Every time you raise a Brix value, you look for new phytochemicals that come out of the plant and that nobody knows they still exist. “
A refractometer effect can easily be explained. The drop of juice on the meter held by hand measures the amount of refraction (or diffraction) in a beam of light passing through the plant juice. Degrees Brix is named after the Austrian-German scientist Adolf Ferdinand Wenceslaus Brix (1798-1870), who unit developed in 1870. Now refractometers are available in all shapes and sizes at a reasonable price. They enable the conscientious consumer to carry out simple tests at home to determine the quality of the product.
Every hydroponics farmer, retailer or consumer who has an interest in the quality of their food needs a refractometer. Refractometer measurements indicate that products sold in supermarkets generally contain 25 to 50% of the nutrients they should have. But the Brix measures more than just sugar. The higher the brix value, the more the plants are insect and disease resistant. Weak plants have a low brix value and give off an electromagnetic frequency that attracts predators. Insects do not match the frequency of a plant with a high brix value. Fungi, mildew and other plant diseases can not use healthy plants.
William Albrecht, said: “Insects and diseases are the symptoms of a failing crop, not its cause, it is not the overwhelming intruder that we must fear, but the weakened state of the victim”.
So the question is why not using it?
For most hydroponics products you will find extremely low brix value. Especially the people from poor countries (indonesia, Arab countries and Africa) are washed up with hydroponics factories, but do not realize that it has no value. And certainly not healthy because of the high concentration of nitrate. (next article)
So you now what you eat…water and nitrate.
© Ed van der Post
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