In this recent study, aquaponic green beans and tomatoes outperformed soil production; to us, this is no surprise. However, we wouldn’t say that growers should always choose aquaponics over soil.
Often there is an us versus them battle, but, in a world, without hunger, we must work together, and in areas with an abundance of land, water, and acceptable climates, sometimes growing in soil is the way to go.
When it comes to dry arid regions or cold dark places that are already in need of CEA and vertical farming, these are areas that aquaponics and hydroponics can thrive in.
“Due to increased demand for high-yielding agricultural methodologies – which are both sustainable and economically viable for the local market – research on new, alternative methods has become imperative. In this paper, crops grown within an aquaponics system are compared to soil-grown counterparts to observe the changes that occur in the key structural components and energy-producing components. The growth of the plants was monitored in both systems by consistently testing photosynthetic yield, chlorophyll content, the height of the plant, and the surface area of the leaves. After the growth period was completed, the plants were harvested and tested for changes in the fine structure of the plant. The water in the aquaponics system was monitored through the growing process and remained a stable environment for both the plants and the tilapia. The soil used to grow the traditionally grown counterparts was also tested for the same components as the water in the aquaponics system. The results from these procedures were indicative of increased growth rates, biomass production in stem and roots, incorporation of nitrogen, photosynthetic output, and cell respiration, as well as changes to the fine structure of the plant cell wall. It is the hope of this initial investigation to open up further detailed investigations concerning the effect on crops grown using aquaponic-based agriculture.”
Knoll, Lauren & Marry, Mazz. (2022). Structural and biophysical properties of whole leaf and root tissue and isolated cell walls of common green bean and tomato seedlings grown in an aquaponics system relative to soil-grown counterparts. Aquaculture International. 10.1007/s10499-022-00846-2.