Hydroponic lettuce cultivation using organic nutrient solution from aerobic digested aquacultural sludge
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionEzziddine, M., Liltved, H. & Seljåsen, R. (2021). Hydroponic lettuce cultivation using organic nutrient solution from aerobic digested aquacultural sludge. Agronomy, 11 (8), Artikkel 1484. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11081484
The aim of this study was to demonstrate how aquacultural sludge can be processed and utilized as an organic nutrient solution (ONS) for hydroponic lettuce production. By using a previous developed method, approximately 80% of the processed sludge was reclaimed as a clear, nutrient-rich solution. The performance of the recovered nutrient solution on lettuce growth was assessed in a nutrient film hydroponic system. The results were compared to the results obtained using a conventional nutrient solution (CNS). Yield, fresh weight, water consumption, and nutrient and heavy metal content in leaf tissue were measured. In spite of a 16% lower average fresh weight obtained in ONS compared to the weight obtained in CNS, there was no statistical difference of the yield of lettuce among the two nutrient solutions. After the cultivation period, 90% of the lettuce heads grown in ONS exceeded the marked weight of 150 g. Foliar analysis revealed a similar or higher content of all nutrients, except of magnesium and molybdenum in the leaves of lettuce grown in the ONS compared to lettuce grown in the CNS. This study shows that nutrients recovered from aquacultural sludge can be utilized as fertilizer, thereby reducing the dependency on mineral fertilizer in hydroponic and aquaponic systems.