Special Issue "Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems II"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Protected Culture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Michael Timmons
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Guest Editor
Biological and Environmental Engineering, Riley Robb Hall—111 Wing Drive, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Interests: controlled environment agriculture; recirculating aquaculture systems; entrepreneurship; renewable energy systems
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Dr. Neil Mattson
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Guest Editor
School of Integrative Plant Science, 134A Plant Science Bldg, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Interests: controlled environment agriculture; plant environmental physiology; hydroponics; plant mineral nutrition; supplemental lighting
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Steven G. Hall
Website
Guest Editor
Biological and Agricultural Engineering, North Carolina State University, 210 Weaver Administration, Raleigh NC 27695, USA
Interests: aquacultural engineering; coastal bioengineering; biosystem automation and control; novel aquatic species and systems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Hydroponics is a soilless culture of plants in nutrient solution that contains ions of all of the necessary elements for healthy plant growth. Major hydroponic production systems can generally be classified as the nutrient film technique (NFT); deep-water culture (DWC) or raft; and soilless substrates/media beds such as rockwool and coconut slabs, hydroton beads, etc. Hydroponics is an increasingly important field due to its increased nutrient-, water-, and space-use efficiencies and is frequently used commercially in modified- and controlled-environment agriculture to produce high-nutrient-density crops (fruits and vegetables).

Aquaponics combines hydroponics and fish aquaculture. Aquaponic farming is quickly becoming a critical part of the local food production equation. Aquaponics is the combined culture of fish and plants in the same or connected systems, where un-assimilated nutrients in the fish feed provide the nutrients needed by the plants. We must learn to grow more food with less water and grow our food closer to the consumer if we want to create a more sustainable future. Although hydroponics and aquaponics have been practiced for centuries, we are still discovering new techniques and attaining a more complete understanding of how plants function in an aquatic environment and how we can optimize their performance, particularly from an environmental sustainability perspective.

In this Special Issue, we would like to explore new horizons on how to move the hydroponics and aquaponics industries into the future to provide nutritious diets to feed the additional 2.0 billion humans being added to our current population of 7.7 billion by 2050. We also need to understand how our current systems are working. We invite manuscripts that explore any aspect of this research topic, including new technologies and growing strategies, new aquaculture products such as seaweeds or other market-driven products, review papers, and traditional research papers. Topics could include nutrient and physiological plant analyses and mass balances, to financial analysis of enterprise models, and everything in between. We look forward to receiving your manuscript.

Prof. Dr. Michael Timmons
Dr. Neil Mattson
Dr. Steven G. Hall
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Horticulturae is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable
  • food security
  • systems design
  • plant physiology
  • water chemistry
  • mass balance

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Integrating Greenhouse Cherry Tomato Production with Biofloc Tilapia Production
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030044 - 04 Aug 2020
Abstract
Integration of intensive aquaculture systems with greenhouse plant production has been shown to improve aquaculture water quality conditions and improve plant nutrient use efficiency. The majority of the focus of integrated systems has involved raft culture or true hydroponics. Little work has been [...] Read more.
Integration of intensive aquaculture systems with greenhouse plant production has been shown to improve aquaculture water quality conditions and improve plant nutrient use efficiency. The majority of the focus of integrated systems has involved raft culture or true hydroponics. Little work has been done on soilless culture utilizing drip irrigation. This study investigates the feasibility of integrating biofloc Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) production with greenhouse cherry tomato production (Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme). Nile tilapia (157 g/fish) were stocked at 40 fish/m3 and grown for 149 days. The cherry tomato cvs. “Favorita” and “Goldita” were grown with aquaculture effluent (AE) waste and compared to plants grown with conventional fertilizer (CF) in soilless culture. Plants were grown for 157 days. Few differences in yield occurred between treatments until fish harvest (117 DAT). Post fish harvest, there was an 18.4% difference in total yield between CF and AE at crop termination for “Favorita”. Differences in yield between AE and CF were observed for “Goldita” at fish harvest (117 DAT) and crop termination (157 DAT). Results from this study suggest the potential for successful integration of cherry tomato grown in a substrate-based system with AE from a tilapia biofloc production system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems II)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of pH on Cucumber Growth and Nutrient Availability in a Decoupled Aquaponic System with Minimal Solids Removal
Horticulturae 2020, 6(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6010010 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Decoupled aquaponic systems are gaining popularity as a way to manage water quality in aquaponic systems to suit plant and fish growth independently. Aquaponic systems are known to be deficient in several plant-essential elements, which can be affected by solution pH to either [...] Read more.
Decoupled aquaponic systems are gaining popularity as a way to manage water quality in aquaponic systems to suit plant and fish growth independently. Aquaponic systems are known to be deficient in several plant-essential elements, which can be affected by solution pH to either increase or decrease available nutrients. To determine the effect of pH in a decoupled aquaponic system, a study was conducted using aquaculture effluent from tilapia culture tanks at four pH treatments: 5.0, 5.8, 6.5, and 7.0, used to irrigate a cucumber crop. Growth and yield parameters, nutrient content of the irrigation water, and nutrients incorporated into the plant tissue were collected over two growing seasons. pH did not have a practical effect on growth rate, internode length or yield over the two growing seasons. Availability and uptake of several nutrients were affected by pH, but there was no overarching effect that would necessitate its use in commercial systems. Nutrient concentrations in the aquaculture effluent would be considered low compared to hydroponic solutions; however, elemental analysis of leaf tissues was within the recommended ranges. Research into other nutrient sources provided by the system (i.e., solid particles carried with the irrigation water) would provide further information into the nutrient dynamics of this system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems II)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Hydraulic Loading Rate on Spatial and Temporal Water Quality Characteristics and Crop Growth and Yield in Aquaponic Systems
Horticulturae 2020, 6(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6010009 - 02 Feb 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Aquaponics is a rapidly growing food-production system integrating aquaculture and hydroponic crop production through an energy-intensive water recirculation process. Crop performance and yield in aquaponics are affected by essential and toxic nutrient levels in the root zone, which can be regulated by water [...] Read more.
Aquaponics is a rapidly growing food-production system integrating aquaculture and hydroponic crop production through an energy-intensive water recirculation process. Crop performance and yield in aquaponics are affected by essential and toxic nutrient levels in the root zone, which can be regulated by water flow rate. This study was conducted to examine the effects of hydraulic loading rate (HLR) on water quality and crop growth and yield in recirculating aquaponic systems set at three different loading rates: high (3.3 m3/m2/day; HFR, which is 12 times lower than recommended loading rate), medium (2.2 m3/m2/day; MFR), and low (1.1 m3/m2/day; LFR). Crop species varying in growth rate were examined for their optimal HLR: fast-growing Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa); medium-growing mustard (Brassica juncea) and chia (Salvia hispanica); and slow-growing basil (Ocimum basilicum) and Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris). Compared to LFR, HFR decreased water and leaf temperatures and total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) but increased dissolved oxygen and pH in aquaponic solution up to one and two weeks after transplant, respectively. HFR increased NO3–N concentration by 50 and 80%, respectively, compared to MFR and LFR, while reducing the exposure duration of roots to ammonia (NH3–N) and its peak concentration through rapid dissipation of the toxic compound. Lower electrical conductivity (EC) in HFR during the last two weeks of production was associated with higher plant nutrient uptake and greater biomass production. The leaf greenness, photosynthetic rate (Pn), and total plant N were significantly higher at HFR than LFR. Fish growth rate, fresh weight, and feed-conversion efficiency were also increased by HFR. The growth of fast-growing crops including total fresh weight, shoot fresh weight, leaf area, and Pn was not different between HFR and MFR, while HLR had less significant effects on the growth and performance (i.e., shoot fresh weight and whole plant photosynthesis) of slow-growing crops. In conclusion, the flow rate is an important component in aquaponic crop production as it affects spatial and temporal water characteristics and subsequently determines the growth and yield of the crops. HLR at 3.3 m3/m2/day was sufficient across the crops allowing better chemical and physical properties of the aquaponic solution for maximum yield and quality. HLR should be maintained at least at 2.2 m3/m2/day for the production of fast-growing crops but can be lowered for slow-growing crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems II)
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