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Lignin and Coco Coir

Coco Coir Lignin Content Matters

Cultivation directors charged with developing operating procedures are choosing between numerous soilless substrates. Those who have made the wise choice to grow in coco coir are seeing an ever-growing range of coco coir options. The considerations of this choice go beyond quality, consistency, and supply. What ultimately drives replicable high yields occurs at a microscopic level, between the roots and the growing media.

What is Lignin?

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines lignin as a complex organic polymer deposited in the cell walls of many plants, making them rigid and woody.

Coconut husks are comprised mostly of this woody polymer, and are highly resistant to conventional organic degradation. Lignins resilience influences soil microbial activity, providing four main benefits:

1) reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases from soil

2) retaining soluble nutrients

3) promoting soil aggregate formation and stabilization, which reduces soil erosion

4) bioremediation and detoxification of natural and man-made organic pollutants. 

(Source)

Lignin in Controlled Environment Agriculture

Lignin is an important contributor to humus, by promoting fungal growth, and by improving soil aggregation and soil structure. Good soil structure is important for soil ecosystem services such as water and nutrient retention, cation exchange capacity, buffering functions, and protection of soil enzymes which are the engine of nutrient cycling (source). Traditionally, CEA implies the use of inorganic growing techniques. This is true when using inorganic substrates such as stonewool, hydroton, or perlite. However, the high lignin content of coco coir creates a robust ecosystem within the substrate. Growers combining this with precision fertigation are creating a synergistic rhizosphere and optimizing the benefits of organics and synthetics! 

Coco Coir Lignin Content

Individual coir manufacturers are relying on various production methods which are degrading lignin content. Buffering coco coir with highly concentrated calcium nitrate is marketed as beneficial. However, these practices are causing the chemical degradation of lignin structure, reducing the air filled porosity and available water content in the final product. Legacy producers are treating coir as a commodity, sourcing raw material which has been left to age for months or even years. They’re treating coir as a byproduct of the palm industry and as time passes, the lignin is slowly decomposing, reducing its beneficial properties.

Lignin in Riococo

Riococo is growing vast Sri Lankan acreage of organically cultivated palm. Our unique manufacturing process is using 100% un-aged material, preserving the naturally occurring lignin-rich fibers and maximizing potential microbial activity. Additionally, our unbuffered coco coir is is allowing the full control of media EC by greenhouse growers. 

Your attention to detail is of the upmost importance when growing the highest quality, highest yielding fruit and vegetables. Our attention to detail is driving RIOCOCO’s third decade providing the highest quality substrates. Our team stands ready to maximize the potential of your plants. Contact us for a quote today!

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