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Hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture which involves growing plants (usually crops) without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent. Terrestrial plants may grow with their roots exposed to the nutritious liquid, or, in addition, the roots may be physically supported by an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, or other substrates. Despite inert media, roots can cause changes of the rhizosphere pH and root exudates can affect rhizosphere biology.The nutrients used in hydroponic systems can come from many different sources, including fish excrement, duck manure, purchased chemical fertilizers, or artificial nutrient solutions.Plants commonly grown hydroponically, on inert media, include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, lettuces, cannabis, and model plants like Arabidopsis thaliana.Hydroponics offers many advantages, notably a decrease in water usage in agriculture. To grow 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of tomatoes using intensive farming methods requires 400 liters (88 imp gal; 110 U.S. gal) of water; using hydroponics, 70 liters (15 imp gal; 18 U.S. gal); and only 20 liters (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 U.S. gal) using aeroponics.
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