Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019) | Viewed by 65797

Special Issue Editors


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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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Guest Editor
School of Integrative Plant Science, 134A Plant Science Bldg, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Interests: reducing energy use in CEA; LED lighting; climate control; mineral nutrition; new crops
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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, Collections and Topics 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 generally can be classified as 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 analyzing financial analysis of enterprise models, and everything in between. We look forward to receiving your manuscript.

Prof. Dr. Michael Ben 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 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. Horticulturae is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 2200 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 (9 papers)

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12 pages, 600 KiB  
Article
Quality, Yield, and Biomass Efficacy of Several Hydroponic Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Cultivars in Response to High Pressure Sodium Lights or Light Emitting Diodes for Greenhouse Supplemental Lighting
by Erica Hernandez, Michael B. Timmons and Neil S. Mattson
Horticulturae 2020, 6(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6010007 - 27 Jan 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 6188
Abstract
Lettuce is an economically important crop that can be grown either in the field or greenhouse. Different challenges are present in either environment; therefore, cultivar selection is important. For hydroponic greenhouse lettuce there is relatively little published information on cultivar selection under different [...] Read more.
Lettuce is an economically important crop that can be grown either in the field or greenhouse. Different challenges are present in either environment; therefore, cultivar selection is important. For hydroponic greenhouse lettuce there is relatively little published information on cultivar selection under different lighting sources. The objective of phase 1 was to determine the influence of lighting using high pressure sodium (HPS) or light emitting diodes (LED) on plant fresh weight, height, tip burn index, bolting, and Brix. Phase 2 was similar to phase 1 but with fewer cultivars (1) to allow for greater number of replicates per treatment per crop cycle. Each experiment consisted of three crop cycles over time per phase. Light sources were controlled using an algorithm, Light and Shade System Implementation (LASSI), to achieve a constant average daily light integral under each treatment and crop cycle. Electrical consumption and efficacy (fresh weight per kWh) from each treatment was estimated using data collected on power consumption from representative lamps multiplied by the number of fixtures and the hours fixtures were on per crop cycle. In phase 1, the fresh weight of 2 to 3 cultivars was greater under HPS and 1 to 2 cultivars under LED, depending on production cycle. The HPS-grown lettuce tended to have more tip burn and bolting in crop cycles 1 and 2, with cycle 3 showing similar tip burn incidence. Bolting was only consistently observed in one cultivar, ‘Teodore’. The LED array used less than half as much electricity as the HPS array, while producing relatively similar size lettuce, therefore, leading to electrical efficacies two- to three-times higher in LED than in HPS treatments. In phase 2, significant differences in height were found in ‘Greenstar’ and ‘Xandra’, with HPS producing larger plants than LED. Significant differences were also found in diameter in ‘Greenstar’, ‘Xandra’, ‘Locarno’, and ‘Crunchita’, with HPS again being larger than LED. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
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8 pages, 1921 KiB  
Article
Effect of Partial Excision of Early Taproots on Growth and Components of Hydroponic Carrots
by Masaru Sakamoto, Masanori Wada and Takahiro Suzuki
Horticulturae 2020, 6(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6010005 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4143
Abstract
Hydroponics provides a stable root environment that can be easily controlled. In this paper, we investigated the effect of partial excision of early taproots of hydroponic carrots on their growth and components. Carrot taproots were excised after 30 days from sowing at 5 [...] Read more.
Hydroponics provides a stable root environment that can be easily controlled. In this paper, we investigated the effect of partial excision of early taproots of hydroponic carrots on their growth and components. Carrot taproots were excised after 30 days from sowing at 5 cm, 10 cm, and 15 cm from the stem base (C5, C10, and C15) and compared with nonexcised control plants. Time-course measurements revealed the taproot lengths of C10 and C15 plants gradually decreased. After 28 days of treatment, C5 taproot tips showed the most rounded shape among root-excised plants. Control plants possessed long taproots that were not enlarged at the site more than 15 cm from the stem base. Taproot fresh weight was lower in C5 plants and higher in C15 plants compared with controls. Although taproot sugar concentrations did not differ between treatments, total phenol concentration was higher in C5 taproots. These data suggest that partial removal of early taproots can regulate the shape and ingredients of hydroponic carrots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
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13 pages, 482 KiB  
Article
The Occurrence of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli in Aquaponic and Hydroponic Systems
by Yi-Ju Wang, Amanda J. Deering and Hye-Ji Kim
Horticulturae 2020, 6(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6010001 - 2 Jan 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 10899
Abstract
Food safety concerns have been raised over vegetables and herbs grown in aquaponics and hydroponics due to the reuse of wastewater and spent nutrient solutions. This study was conducted to determine the occurrence of foodborne pathogens in greenhouse-based aquaponic and hydroponic systems. Fish [...] Read more.
Food safety concerns have been raised over vegetables and herbs grown in aquaponics and hydroponics due to the reuse of wastewater and spent nutrient solutions. This study was conducted to determine the occurrence of foodborne pathogens in greenhouse-based aquaponic and hydroponic systems. Fish feces, recirculating water, roots, and the edible portions of lettuce, basil, and tomato were collected at harvest, and microbiological analyses were conducted for the bacterial pathogens Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella spp. Enrichments and selective media were used for the isolation, and presumptive positive colonies were confirmed by PCR. STEC was found in fish feces, in the water of both systems, and on the surface of the roots of lettuce, basil, and tomato regardless of the system. However, contaminated water did not lead to the internalization of STEC into the roots, leaves, and/or fruit of the plants. Meanwhile, L. monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. were not present in any samples examined. Our results demonstrated that there are potential food safety hazards for fresh produce grown in aquaponic and hydroponic production systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
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9 pages, 692 KiB  
Communication
Seed Germination and Seedling Growth on Knitted Fabrics as New Substrates for Hydroponic Systems
by Jan Lukas Storck, Robin Böttjer, Dominik Vahle, Bennet Brockhagen, Timo Grothe, Karl-Josef Dietz, Anke Rattenholl, Frank Gudermann and Andrea Ehrmann
Horticulturae 2019, 5(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae5040073 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5962
Abstract
Vertical farming is one of the suggested avenues for producing food for the growing world population. Concentrating the cultivation of crops such as herbs in large indoor farms makes food production susceptible to technical, biological or other problems that might destroy large amounts [...] Read more.
Vertical farming is one of the suggested avenues for producing food for the growing world population. Concentrating the cultivation of crops such as herbs in large indoor farms makes food production susceptible to technical, biological or other problems that might destroy large amounts of food at once. Thus, there is a trend towards locally, self-sufficient food production in vertical systems on a small scale. Our study examined whether conventional knitted fabrics, such as patches of worn jackets, can be used for hydroponics instead of the specialized nonwoven materials used in large-scale indoor systems. To this end, seed germination and seedling growth of 14 different crop plant species on knitted fabrics with three different stitch sizes were compared. Our results showed that hydroponic culture on knitted fabrics are indeed possible and allow for growing a broad spectrum of plant species, suggesting recycling of old textile fabrics for this purpose. Among the 14 plant species studied, differences in germination success, average fresh and dry masses, as well as water contents were found, but these parameters were not affected by knitted fabric stitch size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
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8 pages, 944 KiB  
Article
Effects of Nutrient Composition and Lettuce Cultivar on Crop Production in Hydroponic Culture
by Sundar Sapkota, Sanjib Sapkota and Zhiming Liu
Horticulturae 2019, 5(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae5040072 - 15 Oct 2019
Cited by 56 | Viewed by 20167
Abstract
A greenhouse research study was conducted at Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM, USA, in 2019 to examine the effects of different nutrient solutions on the growth and weight of two lettuce cultivars grown in a floating hydroponic system. Two lettuce cultivars, Buttercrunch [...] Read more.
A greenhouse research study was conducted at Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM, USA, in 2019 to examine the effects of different nutrient solutions on the growth and weight of two lettuce cultivars grown in a floating hydroponic system. Two lettuce cultivars, Buttercrunch and Black Seeded Simpson, were subjected to one of four different nutrient concentrations of N, K and Ca at 150, 100, and 150 ppm (N1), 210, 235, and 200 ppm (N2), 250, 300 and 250 ppm (N3), and 300, 350, and 350 ppm (N4), respectively. The Buttercrunch cultivar and N3 treatment proved significantly more productive than the other cultivar/treatment combinations. The greatest fresh weights were recorded in the N3 nutrient solution, 115.33 and 93.17 g/plant for Buttercrunch and Black Seeded Simpson, respectively. Buttercrunch had the greatest fresh weight, leaf number, and leaf and root length in all nutrient solutions. The nitrogen content of the solutions showed a significant positive relationship with chlorophyll content for both cultivars. It is expected that the development of a cheap and easy-to-use hydroponic system will help growers produce high-quality organic vegetables including lettuce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
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11 pages, 220 KiB  
Article
Selection of Heat Tolerant Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Cultivars Grown in Deep Water Culture and Their Marketability
by Sydney C. Holmes, Daniel E. Wells, Jeremy M. Pickens and Joseph M. Kemble
Horticulturae 2019, 5(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae5030050 - 13 Jul 2019
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 7599
Abstract
Lettuce is a cool season vegetable often produced in greenhouses and other protective structures to meet market demands. Greenhouses are being increasingly adopted in warm climate zones where excessive heat often leads to physiological disorders of lettuce, such as tipburn and premature bolting. [...] Read more.
Lettuce is a cool season vegetable often produced in greenhouses and other protective structures to meet market demands. Greenhouses are being increasingly adopted in warm climate zones where excessive heat often leads to physiological disorders of lettuce, such as tipburn and premature bolting. Greenhouse lettuce growers in warm climates need cultivar recommendations that can help improve production without ignoring marketability. In the current study, eighteen lettuce cultivars were grown in deep water culture and evaluated for growth, bolting, and tipburn in a greenhouse in Auburn, AL, starting on 30 June and 19 August 2016. Based on the severity of bolting and tipburn, nine cultivars were then selected and evaluated on 17 November 2016 for sensory attributes and marketability by 50 untrained consumer panelists. Cultivars ‘Adriana’, ‘Aerostar’, ‘Monte Carlo’, ‘Nevada’, ‘Parris Island’, ‘Salvius’, ‘Skyphos’, and ‘Sparx’ were selected as having higher heat tolerance than cultivars ‘Bambi’, ‘Buttercrunch’ ‘Coastal Star’, ‘Flashy Trout Back’, ‘Green Forest’, ‘Green Towers’, ‘Jericho’, ‘Magenta’, and ‘Truchas’. Higher crispness, lower bitterness, higher overall texture, and higher overall flavor each correlated to higher marketability, regardless of cultivar, but the strongest predictor of marketability was overall flavor. Overall flavor and overall texture were more strongly correlated to marketability than bitterness and crispness, respectively, suggesting that broader sensory categories may better capture human sensory perceptions of lettuce than narrower categories. Cultivars ‘Aerostar’, ‘Monte Carlo’, ‘Nevada’, ‘Parris Island’, ‘Rex’, ‘Salvius’, and ‘Sparx’ performed well in a hot greenhouse and were preferred by consumers. This step-wise experiment could be an adaptable tool for determining highest performing cultivars under any given production constraint, without ignoring marketability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
10 pages, 2199 KiB  
Article
Predictive Equations for Butterhead Lettuce (Lactuca Sativa, cv. Flandria) Root Surface Area Grown in Aquaponic Conditions
by Pamela A. Schwartz, Tyler S. Anderson and Michael B. Timmons
Horticulturae 2019, 5(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae5020039 - 16 May 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3913
Abstract
Aquaponic systems are becoming more prevalent and have led to accurate mass and energy balance models that allow nutrient utilization to be maximized and plant and fish systems to be coupled or complimentary. Such models still do not address the potential of using [...] Read more.
Aquaponic systems are becoming more prevalent and have led to accurate mass and energy balance models that allow nutrient utilization to be maximized and plant and fish systems to be coupled or complimentary. Such models still do not address the potential of using the plant side as both the primary nitrification system and as a sink for the nitrate being produced from the fish system. However, using the plants as the nitrification system for the fish waste requires a better understanding and quantification of the nitrification capacity of the plant system. A series of experiments were conducted using butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa, cv. Flandria) in deep water culture rafts. Plants were grown under two growing conditions and were evaluated based upon harvestable weight. Treatment 1 (H5) consisted of a standard hydroponic nutrient solution maintained at pH 5.8, while treatment 2 (A7) consisted of an aquaponic waste solution maintained at pH 7.0. The aquaponic conditions were created from a fish rearing system using koi (Cyprinus carpio) that was continuously recirculated between the designated plant tubs and the fish tank with an in-line bead filter to capture and mineralize fish solids. The total root surface area was not significantly different between treatments, but the ratio of root surface area to root fresh weight was different, suggesting that aquaponic roots are finer than hydroponic roots. Predictive equations were developed to correlate root surface area to shoot or root fresh weight, which can be used to design the nitrification component for a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), as part of an integrated aquaponic system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
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7 pages, 223 KiB  
Reply
Reply to Comment on “The Occurrence of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli in Aquaponic and Hydroponic Systems”
by Yi-Ju Wang, Amanda J. Deering and Hye-Ji Kim
Horticulturae 2021, 7(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7030037 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2188
Abstract
Recently, the Aquaponic Association (AA) published a statement through multiple outlets in response to our article entitled “The Occurrence of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli in Aquaponic and Hydroponic Systems” [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
5 pages, 192 KiB  
Comment
Food Safety and E. coli in Aquaponic and Hydroponic Systems
by Tawnya Sawyer
Horticulturae 2021, 7(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7030036 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2852
Abstract
The following document is The Aquaponic Association’s response to a recent publication on E. coli in Aquaponic and Hydroponic systems [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knowledge of Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems)
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