Hydroponic Gardening – Managing Pests & Diseases

As with soil-based gardens, hydroponic plants require good pest and disease maintenance controls. Failure to do so creates the same results as with 'ordinary' gardens ie spindly or dead plants. Since the majority of hydroponic plants are fruits and vegetables, that means the plants are not worth eating.

However, managing the hydroponic garden is even trickier, since disease and pests have it much easier in this setting. Plants are continuously kept wet, either immersed in water ('true' hydroponics) or continuously sprayed (aeroponics) or in a permanently wet medium such as perlite or sand. Fortunately, as with soil-based gardens, there is an extensive array of available methods to manage the problem.

Using beneficial life forms is one popular way to control unwanted pests, including certain types of bacteria and fungi. These can help to control spider mites and other invaders by crowding them out, eating them or releasing compounds toxic to the pest. They're known as beneficial organizations because they do all that without damaging the plants themselves.

Different types of pesticides are available, too.

Pesticidal soaps have been in use for centuries and still provide effective and non-toxic ways to keep the pests down. One category called botanicals are compounds released by plants themselves that have been combined into an easy-to-use pest control method. Botanicals break down naturally from exposure to air and water and are brilliant because they leave no harmful chemicals behind.

Neem oil can control over 400 different types of pest that typically invade gardens, including hydroponic ones. A simple spray to the leaves can often eliminate common pests. The bugs absorb the oil, which limits their ability to reproduce, leading to a lower population.

For more serious infestations, many commercial pesticides continue to work well.

White flies, aphids, mites and other pests can be a problem in hydroponic settings, just as in soil-based gardens. Powdery mildew is common. In fact, because of the continuous moisture bugs and pests have a 'friendly' environment. Making it 'unfriendly' is straightforward enough, using fungi and organicides. Sulfur-based compounds can help control white flies, mealy bugs, thrips and more.

Pyrethrum continues to be a safe and effective means of control. Although it sounds man made it is actually derived from flowers. This class of natural compounds released by plants are extracted and used in many commercial insecticides. Dosage is low, so the compound is very safe when used correctly (always read the label). Azatrol is a broad spectrum insecticide that provides another easy control method over most common pests.

Hydroponic gardeners have to exercise additional care when using any disease or pest control method, though. Since no soil is present to hold on to the roots, it's easier to damage a plant when manipulating the leaves and stems. That means that if you pick off mites by hand – an effective method for low-number infestations – it's important to exercise extra care.

Since moisture is present, mildew and other fungi are more common in hydroponic gardens. Keeping leaves dry and just the roots wet will help. Any insecticide sprayed on to your plants or vegetable should be allowed to dry under the grow lights. For aeroponically grown plants, for example, that may require a temporary relocation of the indoor garden.

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Preformulation and Formulation Development

Optimizing Conformational Stability and Biological ActivityMaintenance of the native three dimensional conformation is critical for the long term stability and biological activity of biotherapeutics. Biophysical characterization techniques such as circular dichroism, differential scanning calorimetry, FTIR, dynamic light scattering, and fluorescence spectroscopy provide a mechanism to assess the conformational and thermodynamic stability of proteins under a range of formulation conditions. These tools allow development scientists to differentiate various various buffer, pH, ionic strength, and excipient conditions, and identify the conditions that confer the optimum environment for the therapeutic protein.

Utilizing Advanced Statistical Design for Preformulation Development Preformulation development includes statistical design of experiments, allowing simultaneous evaluation of multiple factors and evaluation of interactions between factors. It is crucial to use advanced biophysical characterization techniques to evaluate the conformational stability of large molecules in addition to traditional methods for evaluation of chemical stability.

A large molecule preformulation development program typically includes the following activities:
Evaluate the effect of pH, buffer type, and ionic strength on solubility.
Evaluate the effect of various excipients on improving solubility if necessary.
Evaluate effects of pH, buffer type, and excipients on conformational stability.
Evaluate the effect of pH, buffers, excipients and ionic strength on physical and chemical stability.
Utilize a statistical design approach to identify the optimal conditions for structural, physical and chemical stability.
Perform forced degradation to elucidate product degradation pathways and to demonstrate the stability-indicating capacity of the analytical methods.
Forced degradation studies typically include restricted oxidation, deamidation, aggregation (via agitation), and / or acid / base hydrolysis.
Evaluation of heat stress, photo stress, and freeze thaw are also performed.

Looking for information on Analytical Development and other related resources?

Formulation Development for Numerous Dosage FormsFormulation development includes dosage forms for parenteral, oral topical and inhalation administration, including liquids, gels, suspensions, emulsions and lyophilized powders. Formulation scientists are highly skilled in the development of the dosage forms most relevant to biotherapeutics, with particular expertise in lyophilization and development of stable liquid formulations for proteins. High concentration antibody formulation development for subcutaneous administration requires particular emphasis on viscosity and tonicity. Lyophilization cycle development is performed in the context of the unique thermodynamic properties of the API to deliver an efficient, scalable, transferable process resulting in optimum product stability and reconfiguration characteristics. Formulation development capabilities also include:

Effect of excipients on solubility, tonicity, and viscosity Evaluation of antioxidant and conservative compatibility Container-closure compatibility Long term and accelerated stability studies.

Advantages of Formulation Development Approach. This outlined approach to preformulation and formulation development result in significant savings to the client by eliminating the variables associated with suboptimal formulations. Preclinical development efforts in PK, PD, ADME and toxicology occur with confidence that additional uncontrollable variables from unstable formulations are not introduced into the study. This benefit extends far into clinical trials as well, where assessment of toxicity, dosage levels and efficiency are substantially influenced by an optimal formulation that preserves the three dimensional conformation of the therapeutic protein. By eliminating uncontrolled stability variables, the focus is placed solely on the therapeutic performance and clinical outcome.

PSP Downloads

Having been a big fan of my own psp for quite some time I felt it would be a good idea for some of the newer PSP owners to be introduced to an awesome website that the rest of us know and love.

You see, I remember when I first got my psp. I was sooo excited. I couldn’t wait to explore its wonders. The wrapping never stood a chance. I just held it in my hands for what seemed like forever… it was love at first sight. The promise of endless psp videos, psp games and psp music had me drooling.

A few months passed by and I had completed the games I had bought and watched the videos I’d purchased and… my poor little psp started losing its sheen. It became close friends with the dust particles in my home and started looking very sorry for itself.

Seasons passed and new gadgets were bought. A new digital camera, a digital camcorder, an ipod (at last!) and my poor little psp sat quietly in my cupboard dreaming of its day in the sun.

Until one day, a friend of mine introduced me to a website that brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t known about it. Why had nobody told me?

That day, my psp was restored to chief gadget as I filled it up with the latest psp videos, music and games. And when I got bored of those, I just downloaded more! It was a never ending treasure trove of up to the minute media delights.

Me and my psp have not looked back since. I only regret those days I hadn’t realised how amazing my little psp could be.

If you haven’t discovered this website yet… then dust off your psp and get ready for psp download heaven.

How to Encourage Your Customers to Leave a Consumer Product Review

A consumer product review can be a wonderful tool when it comes to helping you build your sales, but it does not do you much good if you can not convince any of your consumers to leave one when they go! Knowing your consumer product review to work for you requires you to have consumers that are willing to take that extra five minutes out of their day to let you know what they really think. Here's how you can convince them it's worth their time and effort:

1) Offer a small discount on their next purchase to consumers who fill out a consumer product review after they have received their product. This is guaranteed to bring you the results you want-who can say no to saving money? Just remember to keep the discounts within the limits you can afford. It's one thing to offer a 25-50% discount on their next purchase to everyone who gives you five minutes out of your day, it's quite another to look at the cut that's going to take out of your profits when they actually use it.

2) Offer to place them on your mailing list to receive further discounts or coupons after they have filled out a review. You've seen it before; "Answer three easy questions about your shopping experiences and join our mailing list to receive discount coupons and special offers." Again, all of your consumers are essentially cheap at heart; if they were truly satisfied with their experiences they would be happy to have the opportunity to save money in the future. (Hint: Let them know exactly what you'll be sending them, and if you can give them a look at a previous mailing. This eliminates the fear of SPAM.)

3) Spend money to make money. There are a number of companies that offer professional consumer product review services; for a fee they will review your products and put a professional review onto your site. If this makes you flinch, relax. There are plenty of companies that do it. The reviewer gets a free product and fifteen to twenty dollars, you get a great review to show to your returning customers. Everyone wins!

4) Be sure to ask for their contact information when they register for your forum so you can contact them regarding a bad review, but do not go overboard. An e-mail address will suffice, and it will inspire more confidence in your clientele that you're not secretly planning to load their mailboxes up with SPAM.

5) Include a product review card and a website address where they can post a consumer product review with your products when you mail them. While these surveys often find their way into a trash can, every once in a while you'll find someone who's willing to fill it out-and every completed survey is an extra ace in the hole for you.

Many consumers look at a request for a consumer product review and cringe, thinking, "I do not have time for this." It's going to be up to you to convince them otherwise, and these tricks and tactics will get you off to a great start.