Dewatering Aquaculture Effluent For The Hydroponic Production of Pak Choi (Brassica rapa chinensis) and Production of Vegetable Seedlings

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2011: $9,932.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Grant Recipient: Auburn University
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Jesse Chappell
Auburn University

Annual Reports


  • Animals: fish


  • Crop Production: irrigation, organic fertilizers, tissue analysis
  • Production Systems: general crop production

    Proposal abstract:

    The purpose of this project is to utilize the solid and liquid component of aquaculture effluent on-site to produce a hydroponic vegetable crop and vegetable seedlings; therefore, maximizing the use of nutrients in fish feed and minimizing potential eutrophication of adjacent natural resources. Recirculating aquaculture systems provide a controlled environment to produce fish; and a nutrient rich waste can be harvested and utilized rather than discharged. Identifying technologies that allow the producer to manage and add value to production by-products that utilize discharged effluent on-site are important. Geotextile technology provides a practical method to capture and dewater aquaculture effluent to create two usable components: liquid and solid. Previous research has indicated these components are capable of producing vegetable crops. Objective 1 of this project will evaluate the liquid component of dewatered aquaculture effluent as a nutrient source for the hydroponic production of pak choi (Brassica rapa chinensis) cultivars. Objective 2 will utilize knowledge gained from Objective 1 and evaluate two cultivars of pak choi using dewatered aquaculture effluent from a moderate-sized aquaculture farm. Objective 3 will assess the dewatered solids retained in the geotextile bag as a component of a soilless media and nutrient source for the production of vegetable seedlings. This proposed research project is interdisciplinary and will investigate practical methods with existing technologies to utilize dewatered aquaculture effluent for production of vegetable crops. The knowledge gained can be transferred to recirculating aquaculture farms currently producing fish only. We hope to provide farmers with a method to strengthen their agricultural competitiveness through diversification while providing solutions to waste management at the local-scale.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1) Use filtrate exiting the geotextile bag as a nutrient source for a cultivar trial of hydroponically produced pak choi at Auburn University and determine yields, plant growth and health.
    2) Repeat objective one with the two best pak-choi cultivars at a moderate-sized aquaculture farm utilizing RAS technology in Browns, Alabama and determine yields, plant growth and health.
    3) Evaluate the dewatered solids as an element of soilless media and nutrient source for the production of vegetable seedlings. Germination rate, growth and health of transplants will be assessed.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.