A study carried out by the Horticulture team of the Murcian Institute for Agrarian and Food Research (Imida) on aquaponics production systems, which combine soilless cultivation with aquaculture, has shown that the use of this system improves the quality of melons in a greenhouse, while optimizing nitrogen fertilization.
Aquaponics is characterized by being a closed system in which part of the nutrients in the irrigation solution are supplied by the waste from fish production (tilapia) and the recirculation of the crop's drainage water.
The system not only makes the most optimal use of water and fertilizers, especially nitrates, compared to conventional irrigation, but also produces higher quality fruits.
One of the objectives of the Imida Horticulture team is to improve the efficiency of fertilizers and their impact on the quality and the production volume, said sources from the regional government.
They study production systems and cultivation techniques that help minimize the impact of environmental or nutritional stress, improving the quality of fruit and vegetable products and providing different practical solutions and greater scientific knowledge (physiological processes) to help limit the impact on the environment.
This research will be carried out until 2021 with the collaboration of the Integrated Center for Agricultural Training and Experiences (Cifea) in Torre Pacheco, within the framework of the Feder 1420-30 project 'Development of research and demonstration activities to minimize nitrate leaching as a consequence of agricultural activity'. 80% of the funds for the operational program are being provided by the European Regional Development Fund.