Future food systems aim to achieve improved resource use efficiency and minimized environmental footprint through a circular bioeconomy-based approach. Aquaponics is a hallmark of such circular food production. The image of a circular nutrient utilization efficiency in aquaponics is often weakened by the daily use of additional inorganic fertilizers in such systems. As circular bioeconomy greatly emphasizes developing bio-based solutions, the presented novel inventory ‘TilaFeed’ and its associated utility tools is a step towards achieving more circular nutrient utilization and bioeconomy in future aquaponics.
Through the formulation of tailored fish feed that is compatible with aquaponic systems’ needs (e.g. plant nutrient requirement, mineralization efficiency of microbial sludge digesters), the objectives of TilaFeed are (i) to solve nutrient constraints in aquaponic systems, both for fish and plants; (ii) to avoid or strongly limit artificial fertilizer use in aquaponics by smartly tailored aquafeeds; and (iii) to equip system managers with decision-making tools for improved nutrient planning of their aquaponic systems.
TilaFeed is a bio-based inventory. It integrates material (nutrient) flow information from feed to fish (in-vivo nutrient partitioning, forms of excretion) to environment (in-situ nutrient loading, nutrient forms) and primary producers (mineralization by microbes, available nutrients to plants). Based on TilaFeed-Model, feed for future aquaponics may be more precisely formulated with the principle that nutrients are not only a resource for fish, but excreted nutrients from fish (feed) also fertilize the microbes and plants.
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Roy, Koushik & Kajgrová, Lenka & Mraz, Jan. (2022). TILAFeed: A bio-based inventory for circular nutrients management and achieving bioeconomy in future aquaponics. New Biotechnology. 70. 10.1016/j.nbt.2022.04.002.