The Science Behind Aquaponics

  • 5 October 2018
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 5976
The Science Behind Aquaponics

Samir Khanal (MBBE) and his former Ph.D. student Sumeth Wongkiew, in collaboration with Kartik Chandran of Columbia University, just published one of the first fundamental studies on aquaponics linking nitrogen transformations to microbial communities in aquaponic systems in the top-rated nature-index journal Environmental Science and Technology. Samir is at the forefront of aquaponics research for resource recovery globally. As the abstract explains, aquaponics is a technology for food production that combines a concomitant remediation of nitrogen-rich aquaculture effluent. There is, however, a critical need to improve the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in aquaponics. The study employed quantitative polymerase chain reactions and next-generation sequencing to evaluate the bacterial communities and their links to nitrogen transformations for improving NUEs bench-scale plant-based floating-raft aquaponics systems growing pak choi, lettuce, chive, and tomato. The study’s findings on microbial communities and nitrogen transformations provided complementary strategies to improve the performance of the aquaponics regarding water quality and extent of nutrient recovery from aquaculture effluent. In other news, Samir’s review paper on aquaponics, “Nitrogen Transformations in Aquaponic Systems: A Review,” also co-authored by Sumeth, has become the most-cited paper in the journal Aquacultural Engineering!