Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fish, Lettuce and Food Waste Put New Spin on Aquaponics

07.07.2011
A graduate student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is conducting a first-of-its kind experiment in urban food production, using dried food waste to raise fish and using the fish waste to nourish an ever-growing crop of Boston Bibb lettuce.

“The idea is that you’re taking post-consumer food waste which, right now at best, you can compost,” said Michael Amadori, a master’s student in ecological engineering. “And you are growing fish, then you’re taking fish waste and you’re growing lettuce. You can bypass the composting process completely.

“The whole idea with aquaponics is sustainability,” he said. “You can grow fresh food in non-traditional areas, such as college campuses and the urban environment.”

Aquaponics — a practice that combines traditional aquaculture (the raising of fish) with hydroponics (growing vegetables without soil) — is not a new endeavor. But Amadori said this is the first time anyone has experimented with using post-consumer food waste to feed the fish.

If he’s successful, he will have found a way to reduce the amount of food that enters the waste stream while also devising a way to significantly lower the cost of growing fish commercially.

“Not only is Michael investigating the nutrient and energy flows in this system, he is designing a system that can be scaled up for use in small communities that have suffered economic hardship from the loss of manufacturing jobs, such as paper mill closures in the northeastern United States,” said Douglas J. Daley, director of the ESF-based SUNY Center for Brownfield Studies and Amadori’s major professor.

Amadori’s experiment is set up in a greenhouse on the ESF campus in Syracuse, N.Y. Six 55-gallon plastic barrels serve as tanks that each hold 20 young tilapia. In the early weeks of Amadori’s work, the 120 fish together weighed less than a pound. When his experiment is complete in approximately a year, he expects them to attain commercial weight of one pound each. The food waste is obtained from the dining center at Sadler Hall, a residence hall at neighboring Syracuse University.

“It’s what’s left on people’s plates,” he said. “Or it’s left on the grill at the end of the day.”

He puts the food waste through a food grinder, dries it in an oven and breaks it into tiny pellets.

Fish in three of the tanks are fed the homemade pellets. The fish in the other three barrels eat commercial fish food so Amadori can compare the differences between the two populations.

Temperature-controlled water from the fish tanks is pumped into plastic containers in which rows of Boston Bibb lettuce grow in beds of gravel. There is no soil. The lettuce absorbs the nutrients from the fish waste and the water is cycled back into the tanks. The process continues around the clock.

Amadori said he is using tilapia because they are hardy enough to withstand changes in pH and temperature and because the mild-tasting fish have emerged as a popular menu item in the last few years. He said the tilapia grown at fish farms is typically fed with fish that are harvested in the ocean and processed into commercial fish food. “It’s extremely unsustainable,” he said.

“We can close the loop with this process,” Amadori said. “One thing we have plenty of in an urban environment is food waste.”

Claire B. Dunn | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.esf.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Dead trees are alive with fungi
10.01.2018 | Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>