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 Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

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: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

IVAM’s LaserForum visits the Swiss canton of St. Gallen with the topic ultrashort pulse lasers

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Wadden Sea and the Elbe Studied with Zeppelin, Drones and Research Ships

19.09.2017 | Earth Sciences

Digging sensors out of an efficiency hole

19.09.2017 | Materials Sciences

Solar wind impacts on giant 'space hurricanes' may affect satellite safety

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>