The purpose of this study is to exploit the euryhaline nature of commercially attractive species for their cultivation in freshwater aquaponic systems. This approach may increase the profitability of aquaponic production in coastal countries where the consumption of marine fish is traditional and of commercial relevance. For this purpose, juvenile European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax
) were reared in an aquaponic freshwater (AFW) system and an aquaponic saltwater (ASW) system (salinity 20 ppt), in combination with chard (Beta vulgaris
) seedlings, a salt tolerant plant. At the end of the trial, nitrate and phosphate concentration in water significantly increased in the ASW system, suggesting that the ability of B. vulgaris
to absorb these substances was limited by salinity. Total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry revealed that the concentration of some oligoelements such as Fe remained lower with respect to the concentration in the freshwater hydroponic solution, in both AFW and ASW. FTIR-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy on plants showed that growth at high salinity affected their lipid content. In the case of fish, freshwater had no effects on mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acid profiles, although saturated fatty acids were significantly decreased in D. labrax
reared in AFW. Our results demonstrates that it is possible to increase aquaponic profitability by farming D. labrax
juveniles in an aquaponic freshwater system together with Beta vulgaris
, obtaining good quality products.