Co-cultivation of microalgae in aquaponic systems

Min M. Addy, Faryal Kabir, Renchuan Zhang, Qian Lu, Xiangyuan Deng, Dean Current, Richard Griffith, Yiwei Ma, Wenguang Zhou, Paul Chen, Roger Ruan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Aquaponics is a sustainable system for the future farming. In aquaponic systems, the nutrient-rich wastewater generated by the fish provides nutrients needed for vegetable growth. In the present study, the role of microalgae of Chlorella sp. in the floating-raft aquaponic system was evaluated for ammonia control. The yields of algal biomass, vegetable, and removal of the key nutrients from the systems were monitored during the operation of the aquaponic systems. When the systems were in full operation, the algae production was about 4.15 ± 0.19 g/m2·day (dry basis) which is considered low because the growth conditions are primarily tailored to fish and vegetable production. However, it was found that algae had a positive effect on balancing pH drop caused by nitrifying bacteria, and the ammonia could be controlled by algae since algae prefer for ammonia nitrogen over nitrate nitrogen. The algae are more efficient for overall nitrogen removal than vegetables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The funding for this project was provided in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), the University of Minnesota Grand Challenge Program, and the University of Minnesota Center for Biorefining .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Aquaponics
  • Biomass productivity
  • Co-cultivation
  • Microalgae
  • Nitrogen removal


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