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Open AccessArticle

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. Sucrine) Growth Performance in Complemented Aquaponic Solution Outperforms Hydroponics

Integrated and Urban Plant Pathology Laboratory, Université de Liège, Gembloux B-5030, Belgium
Biobased Chemistry & Technology, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen 6700 AA, The Netherlands
Geography and Environment, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Statistics, Informatics, and Applied Modelling Unit, Department AGROBIOCHEM, University of Liège, Gembloux B-5030, Belgium
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Jerald Lalman and Ranka Junge
Water 2016, 8(10), 467;
Received: 6 July 2016 / Revised: 3 October 2016 / Accepted: 14 October 2016 / Published: 19 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquaponics: Toward a Sustainable Water-Based Production System?)
Plant growth performance is optimized under hydroponic conditions. The comparison between aquaponics and hydroponics has attracted considerable attention recently, particularly regarding plant yield. However, previous research has not focused on the potential of using aquaponic solution complemented with mineral elements to commercial hydroponic levels in order to increase yield. For this purpose, lettuce plants were put into AeroFlo installations and exposed to hydroponic (HP), aquaponic (AP), or complemented aquaponic (CAP) solutions. The principal finding of this research was that AP and HP treatments exhibited similar (p > 0.05) plant growth, whereas the shoot weight of the CAP treatment showed a significant (p < 0.05) growth rate increase of 39% on average compared to the HP and AP treatments. Additionally, the root weight was similar (p > 0.05) in AP and CAP treatments, and both were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that observed in the HP treatment. The results highlight the beneficial effect of recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) water on plant growth. The findings represent a further step toward developing decoupled aquaponic systems (i.e., two- or multi-loops) that have the potential to establish a more productive alternative to hydroponic systems. Microorganisms and dissolved organic matter are suspected to play an important role in RAS water for promoting plant roots and shoots growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquaponics; hydroponics; lettuce; sucrine; nutrient film technique (NFT) aquaponics; hydroponics; lettuce; sucrine; nutrient film technique (NFT)
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Delaide, B.; Goddek, S.; Gott, J.; Soyeurt, H.; Jijakli, M.H. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. Sucrine) Growth Performance in Complemented Aquaponic Solution Outperforms Hydroponics. Water 2016, 8, 467.

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