The goal of this research was to evaluate the effect of different doses of peroxyacetic acid on the productivity of watercress (Nasturtium officinale
R. Br.) cultivated hydroponically using a constant nutritive solution. Green chemistry in protected horticulture seeks compatibility with the environment through the creation of biodegradable byproducts. In hydroponics, appropriate doses of peroxyacetic mixtures deliver these byproducts while also oxygenating the roots. Watercress producers who recirculate the nutritive solution can use these mixtures in order to increase oxygenation in the hydroponic system. The experiment took place between August and December 2009, beginning with the planting of the watercress seeds and concluding with the completion of the sensory panels. A completely random design was used, including three treatments and four repetitions, with applications of 0, 20 and 40 mg L−1
of the peroxyacetic mixture. Measured variables were growth (plant height, leaf length and stem diameter), yield (weight per plant and dry matter) and organoleptic quality (color and sensory panel). The application of 40 mg L−1
of the peroxyacetic mixture had a greater effect on the growth and development of the plants, which reached an average height of 29.3 cm, stem diameter of 3.3 mm and leaf length of 7.6 cm, whereas the control group reached an average height of only 20.2 cm, stem diameter of 1.9 mm and leaf length of 5.7 cm. The application of the peroxyacetic mixtures resulted in an improvement in growth parameters as well as in yield. Individual weights achieved using the 40 mg L−1
dose were 1.3 g plant−1
in the control group and 3.4 g plant−1
in the experimental group (62% yield increase). Sensory analysis revealed no differences in organoleptic quality.