Aquaponics and Hydroponics: The Effects of Nutrient Source and Hydroponic Subsystem Design on Sweet Basil Production
Dunwoody, Ryan K.
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Development and practice of sustainable agriculture is one approach to help offset escalating environmental and production crises. Aquaponics is an emerging sustainable agriculture system that amalgamates aquaculture and hydroponics. This research compared sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L. Nufar), yield within six constant flow recirculating systems. Two hydroponic subsystem designs, media filled and deep water culture, were employed. Independent nutrient sources consisted of General Hydroponics® Flora Series, or metabolic wastes of live channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) during respective trials. Weekly water quality and macronutrient assessments were recorded. Sweet basil fresh leaf mass (kg) (FLM), yield (leaf) (kg/0.6027 m2), total yield of vegetative (non-root) biomass (kg) (TVB), plant height (cm), and absolute growth rate (cm/day) (AGR) data was analyzed following each trial. For overall combined media filled and DWC aquaponic and hydroponic systems, FLM, yield, TVB, height, and AGR were significantly higher during the hydroponic trial (p=<0.001). Furthermore, there were significant differences in basil production between aquaponic and hydroponic media and DWC hydroponic subsystems (p<0.05). Additionally, there was no significant difference between aquaponic and hydroponic DWC hydroponic subsystems for FLM, yield, and TVB (p>0.05). Lastly, analysis revealed significant differences between water quality and macronutrient parameters, except for temperature (°C), D.O. (ppm), and PO43- (ppm).