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FLOCponics: The integration of biofloc technology with plant production

  • 22 February, 2022
  • 16:00
  • Wageningen University, Mathematical and Statistical Methods
  • prof. dr KJ Keesmanprof. dr MC Portella

Biofloc technology (BFT) is applied in aquaculture systems with minimal or no water exchange, with high storage densities, sustained by the formation of a microbial community which, beyond maintaining suitable water quality to produce cultivated aquatic organisms, serves as food supplement for them. However, this system can occasionally generate large concentrations of nutrients in the cultivation water. In order to maximize the system in terms of fish production or solve this matter, the integration of BFT with the production of vegetables in an aquaponic system (FLOCponic) has been investigated. Nevertheless, previous reports of the integration of fish and plant production in a connected design showed problems with the handling of the microbial flocs. This stimulates the looking for technological innovations. For example, the adoption of decoupled aquaponic systems (DAPS), with the addition of mineralizers, can be an alternative. In addition, the possibility of reducing the crude protein (CP) levels in the diet of the fish, due to the nutritional supplementation using BFT, could result in reduced costs and improved nutrient balance for plants. Based on these premises, the objective of this project is to evaluate the efficiency of the use of biofloc technology to produce Nile tilapia and lettuce in a decoupled aquaponic system. Thus, the present proposal will have three stages: the 1st and 2nd stages (experimental) will evaluate, respectively, the effect of diets containing different levels of CP on the production of tilapia and lettuce in Decoupled FLOCponic (DFP) systems and the effluents mineralization of the BFT to produce lettuce in DAPS; and the 3rd stage will investigate a theoretical layout of the system through the use of mathematical modelling. In summary, this project envisions technological innovation for fish and vegetable production in more productive and less polluting food production systems.

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Sara Mello Pinho

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