Nitrate content in leafy green vegetables has raised concerns among consumers and policy makers worldwide. Several cultural practices have been evaluated to manipulate NO3-
content in fresh leaves with varying degrees of success. The present study was conducted to evaluate different concentrations of the nutrient solution applied during the day (D) and night (N) to aeroponically grown lettuce ( Lactuca sativa
L.) in Davis, California, USA, in the spring of 2012 with the objective of assessing the effect on growth, leaf photosynthesis, and nitrate accumulation in leaves. Two different treatments in the nighttime solution concentration (D25/N75, EC: 1.8 dS m-1
; and D25/N50, EC: 1.2 dS m-1
),a day nutrient solution of EC 0.6 dS m-1
, plus a day and night treatment with constant EC (D50/N50, EC: 1.2 dS m-1
) were applied. Plant growth, leaf photosynthesis, and leaf nutrient content were evaluated after 3 wk of growth. Mean shoot weight was 106.3 g with no differences among treatments. Root biomass was lower with D25/N75 (0.14 vs. 0.85 g in the other treatments). The maximum rate of leaf photosynthesis was 66% lower with D25/N75 than in the other treatments. Nitrogen, P, K, Ca, and Mg were lower in leaf tissue in the treatments with different solution concentrations where leaf NO3-
content was reduced by approximately 75%. Switching nutrient solution concentration between day and night is a viable practice to reduce NO3- in lettuce leaves with no detriment to leaf production.