New Advances in Hydroponics and Aquaponics for Urban Agriculture

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water, Agriculture and Aquaculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2023) | Viewed by 17534

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Integrated and Urban Plant Pathology Research Laboratory, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Interests: aquaponics; hydroponics; aquatic microbiology; biocontrol of plant pathogen in aquatic environment; microbial wastewater treatment; water quality measurement; urban agriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Natural Resource Sciences, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Grüentalstrasse 14, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
Interests: aquaponics; hydroponics; wastewater-fed aquaculture; constructed wetlands; urban agriculture; zero emission buildings; building integrated agriculture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Hydroponics production has been evolving for more than 90 years. From the 1950s to the early 2000s, most of the developments were achieved in the context of intensive, high tech, and large scale production. These improvements resulted in a very productive sector that made efficient use of water and nutrients.

More recently, various innovative strategies have been explored in order to adapt hydroponics to urban and peri-urban environments all over the world. This exploration involves the drastic diversification of the techniques, space occupation, social, and economic models. The lack of space in cities has stimulated the development of vertical systems, small scale farms, and the occupation of new spaces such as building basements, rooftops, and contenairs. The level of technicality was either increased in order to obtain higher productivity and efficiency or otherwise simplified to decrease the cost while maintaining production. Most systems also increased their circularity either within the system by improving the energy, water, and nutrient efficiency (or by integrating other organism such as fish at the community level) or by reusing materials and organic waste available in and around cities.

All these new approaches and their impact on the technicality and business models/economics of the process can be defined as a new advance in urban agriculture.

Prof. Dr. M. Haïssam Jijakli
Prof. Dr. Ranka Junge
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2600 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

  • hydroponic
  • bioponic
  • aquaponic
  • urban
  • low tech
  • high tech
  • microbiota
  • energy

Published Papers (6 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

19 pages, 1918 KiB  
Article
Development of a Simple Bioponic Method Using Manure and Offering Comparable Lettuce Yield than Hydroponics
by Iris Szekely, Ziad Zeaiter and M. Haissam Jijakli
Water 2023, 15(13), 2335; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15132335 - 23 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3619
Abstract
Using locally accessible organic materials as fertilizers in hydroponics can represent a sustainable alternative to the synthetic mineral fertilizers typically used. This study aimed at developing a simple bioponic method using chicken or goat manure on lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. Lucrecia) in [...] Read more.
Using locally accessible organic materials as fertilizers in hydroponics can represent a sustainable alternative to the synthetic mineral fertilizers typically used. This study aimed at developing a simple bioponic method using chicken or goat manure on lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. Lucrecia) in the nutrient film technique, requiring few inputs. The first experiment compared nutrient solutions made from chicken or goat droppings and mineral fertilizers in terms of physico-chemical parameters, plant yields, and shoot mineral content. Organic solutions were produced in two main stages before being used on plants: (1) a simple manure maceration in water to produce stock solution, followed by (2) an aerobic digestion of the filtrated and diluted stock solution according to the total mineral nitrogen (TMN). The second experiment compared different concentrations of chicken manure stock solution (60, 80, 100, or 120 mg/L TMN) to a control mineral solution. In the first experiment, both organic treatments resulted in yields significantly lower than those of the control, probably due to nitrogen scarcity. In the second experiment, all organic treatments resulted in wet and dry shoot masses similar to those obtained with the inorganic control treatment. Produce quality was also improved, with lower shoot nitrate content. Important nitrogen losses occurred in the organic solutions during aerobic digestion, particularly in the goat treatment and in the highly concentrated treatments in stock solution during the 2nd experiment (~50–65% TMN losses). This was probably caused by the presence of residual organic matter, which resulted in excessive microbial development. It can be concluded that chicken and goat manure are suitable fertilizers for lettuce hydroponic production using this method; however, further research should be carried out to improve mineralization during digestion steps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Hydroponics and Aquaponics for Urban Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 1137 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Nutrient Source and Beneficial Bacteria on Growth of Pythium-Exposed Lettuce at High Salt Stress
by Leonardo Bruni, Ranka Junge, Florentina Gartmann, Giuliana Parisi and Zala Schmautz
Water 2023, 15(11), 2109; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15112109 - 2 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1926
Abstract
High salinity, nutrient imbalance, and pathogens are some of the challenges of closed soilless cultivation systems, e.g., those combining hydroponics (HP) with aquaculture effluents (AE). Plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPM) can support plants to cope with stressing agents. To address these topics, lettuces were [...] Read more.
High salinity, nutrient imbalance, and pathogens are some of the challenges of closed soilless cultivation systems, e.g., those combining hydroponics (HP) with aquaculture effluents (AE). Plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPM) can support plants to cope with stressing agents. To address these topics, lettuces were grown in soilless systems (20 boxes) at an electrical conductivity of around 4.2–5 mS/cm, following a full factorial design with two nutrient sources and five bacterial treatments. The nutrient sources were either organic (AE) or inorganic (HP); the treatments were either commercial PGPM or sludges of an aquaculture farm or of an urban wastewater treatment plant. Finally, half the plants were exposed to pathogen Pythium sp. After 61 days of culture, most of the differences between HP- and AE-plants could be attributed to the composition of the nutrient solutions. Nutrient imbalances, salinity, and the pathogen exposition did not cause severe damage, except for tip burn. Fresh weight was significantly higher in HP (177.8 g) than in AE (107.0 g), while the chlorophyll and flavonoid levels tended to be higher in AE. The leaf sodium and chlorine concentrations were higher than the values found in similar studies; however, AE plants contained a lower content of sodium and chlorine (35.0 and 21.5 mg/g dry weight) than the HP ones (44.6 and 28.6 mg/g dry weight). Many macro- and micronutrients in the AE-grown plants tended to be higher when the commercial PGPM or the sludges were administered, supporting the idea that those treatments contain a flora that helps to extract nutrients from organic sources. The study demonstrated that lettuce can be successfully cultured at relatively high salt concentration. To further investigate beneficial services such as nutrient extraction, salinity mitigation, and pathogen protection, we suggest administering bacterial communities of known composition, or single microbial strains. The study also showed that PGPM can be found in sludges of different origins; isolating beneficial strains from sludge would additionally transform its management from a burdensome cost to a source of beneficial services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Hydroponics and Aquaponics for Urban Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 3008 KiB  
Article
Technical and Business Evaluation of Professional Aquaponics in Europe
by Pierre Raulier, François Latrille, Nicolas Ancion, Marjane Kaddouri, Nathalie Crutzen and M. Haïssam Jijakli
Water 2023, 15(6), 1198; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15061198 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 3152
Abstract
The European aquaponic sector started to develop and professionalize in the early 2010′s. This development and the subsequent challenges faced by early practitioners were investigated in various publications between 2015 and 2020. Although most of these studies were focused on educational and research [...] Read more.
The European aquaponic sector started to develop and professionalize in the early 2010′s. This development and the subsequent challenges faced by early practitioners were investigated in various publications between 2015 and 2020. Although most of these studies were focused on educational and research institutions, only a few included commercial entities. The present survey is aimed at defining and assessing the recent evolution of the European aquaponic activities in professional structures. One hundred and forty professional aquaponic entities (non-profit organization, educational, and commercial) having an aquaponic system with more than 1 m3 of water in their recirculating aquaculture systems were identified in Europe. Among them, 46 responded to a survey about the technical and business aspects of their structures. In comparison to previous surveys, a much higher number of entities had larger systems (up to 14,000 m2), with higher yields (up to 20 t of fish or vegetables per year), whereas 59% of them declared making profits. This revealed a clear expansion and professionalization of the sector, which was found to be highly diversified, with systems varying greatly in size, design, and technology. Business models and activities were generally diverse, and included a combination of production, education, and/or services. Most entities also combined different customer segments. At the time of the survey, the aquaponic sector was still struggling to find its economic viability, as the business model of most entities did not only rely on fish and vegetable sales, but also largely relied on free labor through volunteers or internships. Acquiring knowledge as well as optimizing production and business models were perceived as the main challenges for the steady growth of the sector. Consequently, there is a clear need to increase training, to continue the research and development work, and create public support systems for aquaponics farms to further improve and expand the commercialization of aquaponics in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Hydroponics and Aquaponics for Urban Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 535 KiB  
Article
Is Aquaponics Beneficial in Terms of Fish and Plant Growth and Water Quality in Comparison to Separate Recirculating Aquaculture and Hydroponic Systems?
by Faiqa Atique, Petra Lindholm-Lehto and Juhani Pirhonen
Water 2022, 14(9), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14091447 - 30 Apr 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 5950
Abstract
Aquaponics is a technique where a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and hydroponics are integrated to grow plants and fish in a closed system. We investigated if the growth of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and baby spinach (Spinacia oleracea) would [...] Read more.
Aquaponics is a technique where a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and hydroponics are integrated to grow plants and fish in a closed system. We investigated if the growth of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and baby spinach (Spinacia oleracea) would be affected in a coupled aquaponic system compared to the growth of the fish in RAS or plants in a hydroponic system, all systems as three replicates. We also investigated the possible effects of plants on the onset of nitrification in biofilters and on the concentration of off-flavor-causing agents geosmin (GSM) and 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) in rainbow trout flesh and spinach. For the fish grown in aquaponics, the weight gain and specific growth rates were higher, and the feed conversion ratio was lower than those grown in RAS. In spinach, there were no significant differences in growth between aquaponic and hydroponic treatments. The concentration of GSM was significantly higher in the roots and MIB in the shoots of spinach grown in aquaponics than in hydroponics. In fish, the concentrations of MIB did not differ, but the concentrations of GSM were lower in aquaponics than in RAS. The onset of nitrification was faster in the aquaponic system than in RAS. In conclusion, spinach grew equally well in aquaponics and hydroponic systems. However, the aquaponic system was better than RAS in terms of onset of nitrification, fish growth, and lower concentrations of GSM in fish flesh. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Hydroponics and Aquaponics for Urban Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

10 pages, 1011 KiB  
Article
Fish Welfare in Urban Aquaponics: Effects of Fertilizer for Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) on Some Physiological Stress Indicators in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L.)
by Morris Villarroel, Genaro C. Miranda-de la Lama, Rafael Escobar-Álvarez and Rubén Moratiel
Water 2022, 14(6), 935; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14060935 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4708
Abstract
The combination of hydroponics and aquaculture, or aquaponics, normally requires adding fertilizer to recirculated water to ensure optimal plant growth, but the effect of that fertilizer on fish welfare has not been studied in detail, especially for small urban and coupled aquaponic systems. [...] Read more.
The combination of hydroponics and aquaculture, or aquaponics, normally requires adding fertilizer to recirculated water to ensure optimal plant growth, but the effect of that fertilizer on fish welfare has not been studied in detail, especially for small urban and coupled aquaponic systems. In this study, a commercial fertilizer was placed in two small aquaponic systems (less than 250 liters each) to test its effect on the stress levels of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) compared to controls without any fertilizer. Fish production parameters were not significantly different between treatments, nor were physiological indicators of fish stress (plasma cortisol, glucose, and triglycerides). On the other hand, lettuce growth (leaf and root weight and length) was up to three times higher in the treatment that received fertilizer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Hydroponics and Aquaponics for Urban Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

27 pages, 1133 KiB  
Review
Bioponics as a Promising Approach to Sustainable Agriculture: A Review of the Main Methods for Producing Organic Nutrient Solution for Hydroponics
by Iris Szekely and M. Haïssam Jijakli
Water 2022, 14(23), 3975; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14233975 - 6 Dec 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 11253
Abstract
Hydroponics is a soilless cultivation technique in which plants are grown in a nutrient solution typically made from mineral fertilizers. This alternative to soil farming can be advantageous in terms of nutrient and water use efficiency, plant pest management, and space use. However, [...] Read more.
Hydroponics is a soilless cultivation technique in which plants are grown in a nutrient solution typically made from mineral fertilizers. This alternative to soil farming can be advantageous in terms of nutrient and water use efficiency, plant pest management, and space use. However, developing methods to produce nutrient solutions based on local organic materials is crucial to include hydroponics within a perspective of sustainability. They would also allow hydroponics to be developed in any context, even in remote areas or regions that do not have access to commercial fertilizers. This emerging organic form of hydroponics, which can be qualified as “bioponics”, typically recycles organic waste into a nutrient-rich solution that can be used for plant growth. Many methods have been developed and tested in the past three decades, leading to greatly heterogenous results in terms of plant yield and quality. This review describes the main organic materials used to produce nutrient solutions and characterizes and categorizes the different types of methods. Four main categories emerged: a “tea”-type method, an aerobic microbial degradation method, an anaerobic digestion method, and a combined anaerobic-aerobic degradation method. The advantages and drawbacks of each technique are discussed, as well as potential lines of improvement. This aims at better understanding the links between agronomic results and the main biochemical processes involved during the production, as well as discussing the most suitable method for certain plants and/or contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Hydroponics and Aquaponics for Urban Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop