Engineering Considerations And Perspectives For Nitrogen Recovery Via Aquaponics

Nitrogen, a critically important nutrient that boosts yields in agriculture and food production, is currently overused to meet the rising demand for food. Surplus nitrogen ends up in the environment in excess of the capacity of the natural nitrogen cycle, thereby leading to serious environmental pollutions, such as eutrophication of water bodies and emission of nitrous oxide (a highly potent greenhouse gas) to the atmosphere.

Aquaponics –bioponics is an emerging soilless technology for nitrogen recovery that links organic vegetable production to aquaculture effluent remediation (aquaponics) or organic waste recycling (bioponics). This Review presents the concept of aquaponics–bioponics for nitrogen recovery.

Nitrogen transformations and nitrogen mass distributions in aquaponic–bioponic systems are critically discussed, along with the nutrient availability of several organic composts that can be integrated with the systems, and the microbial communities involved. This discussion is followed by a dynamic nitrogen modeling for managing nitrogen from different wastes in aquaponics–bioponics.

Various emerging engineering technologies that could improve aquaponics–bioponics are presented, including aeration with microbubbles and/or nanobubbles, cocultivation with algae, process automation with the Internet of Things, and integration with indoor vertical farming (plant factory with artificial light).

Overall, the Review lays out the state-of-art in aquaponics–bioponics and highlights potential approaches for developing highly efficient nitrogen recovery technologies from diverse organic waste streams.

Source: Wongkiew, S., Hu, Z., Lee, J. W., Chandran, K., Nhan, H. T., Marcelino, K. R., & Khanal, S. K. (2021). Nitrogen Recovery via Aquaponics–Bioponics: Engineering Considerations and Perspectives. ACS ES&T Engineering, 1(3), 326-339.

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