Aquaculture Europe 2021

October 4 - 7, 2021

Funchal, Madeira

Add To Calendar 07/10/2021 11:00:0007/10/2021 11:20:00Europe/LisbonAquaculture Europe 2021SOIL-BASED AQUAPONICS: THE EFFECTS OF SOIL ADDITION AS INVESTIGATED IN FOUR DIFFERENT TRIALSMezzanine-CasinoThe European Aquaculture Societyalistair@aquaeas.eufalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY

SOIL-BASED AQUAPONICS: THE EFFECTS OF SOIL ADDITION AS INVESTIGATED IN FOUR DIFFERENT TRIALS

 Lorenzo Fruscella*, Benz Kotzen, Sarah Milliken

 

School of Design, University of Greenwich, Park Row, London SE10 9LS

l.fruscella@gre.ac.uk

 



Introduction

Aquaponics is an innovative and sustainable food production technology ,  identified by the European Commission as one of the ten technologies that will change our lives. In the EU, b ecause of the lack of soil,  aquaponics is considered a type of hydroponics, and it is  therefore  excluded from organic certification. This exclusion  is considered to hinder the development of aquaponics, as it makes it difficult for producers to increase their earnings and effectively market their products.  This research explores ways through which different soil substrates (inert potting soil, nutrient-rich potting soil, certified top soil, artificial soil  for raised beds)  can be included in  coupled and de-coupled  aquaponics, thus taking it one step closer to organic certification.  By including soil in aquaponics, this research can ultimately help the technology with its marketability, commercialisation, public acceptance, and popularity . The research is done through four different trials,  and is to take place between April and August 2021. The trials aim at investigating the effects that soil has on  the health, growth, and quality of the plants and the fish, while examining how the soil microbiome is affected by the use of aquaponic water and processed sludge. This presentation will include results from the trials, and possible analyses and conclusions, depending on their development. The four trials and their description are listed below.

 Trial 1: Basil cultivation in pots

This trial investigates the effects of aquaponic water and processed sludge on plant growth and quality and soil microbiome in basil (Ocimum basilicum )  cultivated in pots. Five treatments are used :  basil in pots filled with inert potting soil watered with aquaponic water,  basil in  pots filled with inert potting soil watered with aquaponic  water and  sludge, basil in pots filled with nutrient-rich potting soil watered with tap water, basil in pots filled with nutrient-rich potting soil watered with aquaponic water, basil in pots filled with nutrient-rich potting soil watered with aquaponic  water and  sludge. The effects of the use of the different substrates and water type on plant health, quality, and growth, as well as soil microbiome composition are investigated. Each treatment is replicated three times.

 Trial 2:  Basil and Nile tilapia coupled aquaponics

This trial investigates the effects of aquaponic water on the growth and quality of basil (Ocimum basilicum )  grown in soil-filled pots, as well as potential effects of soil addition to fish health.  The growth of plants in soil-based aquaponic systems is compared to that of conventional aquaponics. The design of the soil-based aquaponic systems is inspired by conventional coupled aquaponics, however the plant units are designed to allow the plant roots in soil filled pots continuous access the aquaponics water.  Four different treatments are used , all involving tanks will fish with a tray at the top, where water is recirculated between the fish and plant units. Treatments are the following: conventional soil-less aquaponics, soil-based aquaponics with inert soil in pots, soil-based aquaponics with nutrient-rich soil in pots, pots filled with nutrient-rich soil and watered with tap water. Each treatment is replicated three times.

 Trial 3:  Onions cultivation in raised beds

This treatment investigates the effect of watering onions (Allium cepa ) cultivated in raised beds and watered with water from different sources ; the aim of the study is to compare the effects of manure , currently allowed in organic production, and aquaponic water and aquaponic water with sludge as fertiliser  on the growth and quality of the plants . Four outside raised beds are divided into four sub-units, for a total of 16 sub-units. Each subunit is devoted to the cultivation of onion sets. The four treatments, each replicated four times, are the following:  onions watered with tap water, onions supplied with horse manure and watered with tap water, onions watered with aquaponic water,  and onions watered with aquaponic water with sludge.

 Trial 4: Bok Choy c ultivation in outside containers

This treatment investigates the effect of watering bok choys ( Brassica rapa) cultivated in raised beds and watered with water from different sources; the aim of the study is to compare the effects of manure, currently allowed in organic production, and aquaponic water and aquaponic water with sludge as fertiliser on the growth and quality of the plants .  A total of twelve 20L rectangular containers are  used, for a total of four treatments. The treatments, each replicated four times, are the following: plants watered with tap water, plants supplied with horse manure and watered with tap water, plants watered with aquaponic water,  and plants watered with aquaponic water with sludge.

Trials estimated timeline:

  • Basil cultivation in pots : April – June 2021(trial started)
  • Basil and Nile tilapia coupled aquaponics: May – July 2021(to begin on May 10th)
  • Onions Cultivation in Raised Beds: April – August 2021(trial started)
  • Bok Choy Cultivation in outside containers: May – July 2021(to begin on May 17th)