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An efficient and economic disposal strategy for effluents from hydroponics culture in Mauritius. By: Prathima SEECHURN Supervisor: Dr B. Lalljee Associate Professor, University of Mauritius. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM. Intensive Agriculture. Open field. Hydroponics Culture. Heavy use of

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an efficient and economic disposal strategy for effluents from hydroponics culture in mauritius

An efficient and economic disposal strategy for effluents from hydroponics culture in Mauritius

By: Prathima SEECHURN

Supervisor: Dr B. Lalljee Associate Professor, University of Mauritius

statement of problem
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Intensive Agriculture

Open field

Hydroponics Culture

Heavy use of

fertiliser /agrochemicals

Only 50 % of fertiliser absorbed

by plants – 50% lost

Excess leachate dispose in environment

Groundwater, surface water, soil contamination

statement of problem3
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Local Studies – E.g Nitrate concentration

  • Values measured from boreholes of Choisy and Poudre D’or between 10-20 mg/L with occasional peaks exceeding 40mg/L at times
  • At Fond du Sac, Riche Terre and Petite Rivière concentrations measured oscillated between 20 to 40 mg/L

A sign of warning

rationale of the study
RATIONALE OF THE STUDY
  • Today, public is much concerned about protecting our environment for future generation

Sustainability

  • Sustainable production using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
  • Optimise use of fertiliser/water i.e reduce wastage
  • price of fertiliser escalating and water becoming a scarce resource
aims objectives
AIMS & OBJECTIVES

To assess the potential risk associated with hydroponics effluents and evaluate the potential of using it as a source of nutrients and water in crop production

activities
ACTIVITIES
  • To carry out survey among hydroponics growers
  • To assess the amount of liquid effluent discharge from hydroponics system
  • Characterisation of hydroponics effluents
  • To assess the performance of crops fertilised with hydroponics effluents - pot trials
methodology
METHODOLOGY

Activity 1: Survey among hydroponics growers

  • Face to face interview

Activity 2: Assessing the amount of liquid effluent discharge

from hydroponics system

  • To record the amount of effluents for the whole crop cycle at different greenhouses for different crops
methodology activity 3 characterisation of hydroponics effluents
METHODOLOGYActivity 3: Characterisation of Hydroponics Effluents
  • To conduct a preliminary analysis
  • Leaching of nutrients at different substrates
  • Collecting samples at three times interval to evaluate for any variation in concentration
  • To collect effluents from different greenhouses
  • Tomato
  • Sweet Pepper
  • Cucumber
  • & others
methodology10
METHODOLOGY

Activity 3 (Contd’): Characterisation of Hydroponics Effluents

  • Plastic tank of 50 litres capacity buried outside the greenhouse to collect the over drain solution.

Collection of effluents from greenhouse

slide11

METHODOLOGY

Activity 3 (Contd’): Characterisation of Hydroponics Effluents

HYDROPONICS EFFLUENTS ANALYSIS

Determination of :

  • pH
  • Electrical Conductivity
  • Nitrate
  • Phosphate
  • Macro & micro elements
methodology12
METHODOLOGY

Activity 4: Assessing the performance of crops fertilised with hydroponics effluents - pot trials (bean)

  • EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN

Randomised complete Block Design - 6 treatments replicated 4 times

  • TREATMENTS

T1 :No fertiliser and no hydroponics effluents

T2 :Hydroponics effluents only

T3:25% mineral fertiliser + hydroponics effluents

T4: 50% mineral fertiliser +hydroponics effluents

T5: 75% mineral fertiliser + hydroponics effluents

T6: 100% mineral fertiliser as per recommended rate

methodology13
METHODOLOGY

Activity 4 (Contd’): Assessing the performance of crops fertilised with hydroponics effluents - pot trials (bean)

  • PARAMETERS RECORDED
          • Plant height
          • Full weight of pods at maturity per plant
          • Weight of whole plant
          • Percentage dry matter
results activity 1 survey among hydroponics growers
Note:

Question 1:

How do you dispose the Hydroponics Effluents?

Question 2:

Are you aware of the economic value of the Hydroponics Effluents?

Question 3:

Do you know that this solution can be used alternatively for crop production?

Question 4:

Have you ever thought of having your hydroponics culture along with a small plot in field where hydroponics effluents is used as fertiliser?

Question 5:

Will you be interested in investing in such technology?

RESULTSActivity 1: Survey among hydroponics growers
results activity 2 assessing the amount of liquid effluent discharge from hydroponics system
RESULTSActivity 2: Assessing the amount of liquid effluent discharge from hydroponics system
  • Under normal condition, out of an average of 100 ml of nutrient solution provided per plant around 60% of solution is absorbed by the plant and the rest are leached out as hydroponics effluents.
  • On average, the amount of hydroponics effluents collected per day from a greenhouse is around 1 litre per square metre and has a nitrate concentration of 108 mg/L.
  • Hence, the amount of nitrogen lost for a greenhouse of 250 m2 is 27 g per day.

Work still under progress

results activity 3 characterisation of hydroponics effluents preliminary observation
RESULTSActivity 3: Characterisation of hydroponics effluentsPreliminary Observation

Forecast:

  • Area of 20 hectares under Hydroponics Culture – 22 Kg of nitrogen will be lost to the environment per day

% Solution lost from different substrates

results activity 3 contd preliminary observation
RESULTSActivity 3 (Contd’): Preliminary Observation

Mean Nitrate concentration at different time interval

slide18
RESULTSActivity 3 (Contd’): Preliminary Observation

At 13.30 p.m the plants did not absorb nitrate nutrients. This could be explained by the fact that in afternoon the demand for water is higher than that of fertiliser. As such it can be concluded that hydroponics effluents do contribute partially to environmental pollution.

slide19
RESULTSActivity 4 : Assessing the performance of crops fertilised with hydroponics effluents - pot trials (bean)
  • Analysis under process
discussion
DISCUSSION
  • Savings on purchase of fertilisers – price of fertiliser escalating year by year (30% increase over the last year)
  • Environmental cost – lesser contribution to pollution as compared to disposal in drains
conclusion
CONCLUSION
  • The use of Hydroponics Effluents for crop production can help to make savings on fertiliser and be considered as a practical alternative to prevent further environmental damage.
  • Further research needs to be undertaken to understand the fate of hydroponics effluents to the soil/water profile
recommendation
RECOMMENDATION
  • Strategies to minimise possible damage caused by Hydroponics Effluents would be:

- sensitization of farmers on the potential risk of disposing Hydroponics Effluents in drain,

- Training of farmers

- Use of Hydroponics Effluents in an integrated system

- Reset fertigation time

- Electrical Conductivity Meter to be at disposal of each planter

- Review of Chemical Fertiliser Control Act

To be worked out

reference
Reference
  • Agricultural Research and Extension Unit (2004). Cultures légumières. In Le Guide Agricole. Published by Agricultural Research and Extension Unit/Food and Agricultural Research Council.
  • Hochmuth. R. C and M.S Sweat, (1999). – Hydroponics Nutrient Effluent, A recoverable Energy Resource. University of Florida.
  • Howard M. Resh, Ph.D, (1998). A definitive Guidebook for the Advanced Home Gardener and the Commercial Hydroponics Grower, fifth edition.
  • Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit, Government of Mauritius. (2005). Threat to freshwater resources. In: Mauritius staking out the Future.
  • Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit, Government of Mauritius. (1991). State of Environment Report. pp 12, 63, 72 & 91.
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • Field workers from AREU Crop Research Station
  • Hydroponics growers
  • Technical staff of the University of Mauritius
  • MRC for funding.
to end
To end
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