Sandponics: Growing crops in sand to desalinate water

Sandponics is an aquaponic-related growing technique for cultivating plants that utilize sand as a primary medium for mechanical filtration, biofilter, and as well growing media for crops. 

This study investigated the utilization of fish effluents as irrigation water and nutrient sources to close the crop yield gap and increase Swiss chard productivity in a closed-loop sandponics system. The experiment was operated using desalinated water from a Reverse Osmosis plant. The study followed a completely randomized design with four variants, i.e., an aquaponic system (T1) and three sandponics systems; October (T2), Benu Suef (T3), and Fayoum (T4). Results indicated that T2 and T4 significantly recorded the highest plant heights in all cuts.

The number of leaves per plant decreased with the increase in cut number. Leaf area and chlorophyll were significantly different between the treatments. T1 significantly had low biomass yields in cuts one and two, almost 40% less than T3 and T4. The various systems efficiently minimized water consumption ranging from 1.5 to 1.96 L/m2/day. The crop protein content ranged from 11.84 to 18.72 mg/100 g dry weight. Mineral composition in cut one was significantly higher compared to cuts two and three. The study recommends a novel technique for increasing crop production using fish effluents under sandponics systems while increasing water and fertilizer efficiency to close the crop yield gap.

Read the complete research at

Sewilam, H., Kimera, F., Nasr, P. et al. A sandponics comparative study investigating different sand media-based integrated aqua vegeculture systems using desalinated water. Sci Rep 12, 11093 (2022). 


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