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Hydroponic system for the treatment of anaerobic liquid

Krishnasamy, K, Nair, J. and Bäuml, B. (2012) Hydroponic system for the treatment of anaerobic liquid. Water Science & Technology, 65 (7). pp. 1164-1171.

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The effluent from anaerobic digestion process has high concentrations of nutrients, particularly nitrogen, essential for plant growth but is not suitable for direct disposal or application due to high chemical oxygen demand (COD), low dissolved oxygen (DO), odour issues and is potentially phytotoxic. This research explored the optimum conditions of anaerobic effluent for application and dilutions of the effluent required to obtain better plant growth. A small-scale hydroponic system was constructed in a glasshouse to test different concentrations of anaerobic effluent against a commercial hydroponic medium as the control for the growth of silverbeet. It was found that the survival of silverbeet was negatively affected at 50% concentration due to low DO and NH 4 toxicity. The concentration of 20% anaerobic liquid was found to be the most efficient with highest foliage yield and plant growth. The hydroponic system with 20% concentrated effluent had better utilisation of nutrients for plant growth and a COD reduction of 95% was achieved during the 50-day growth period. This preliminary evaluation revealed that the growth and development of silverbeet was significantly lower in anaerobic effluent compared with a commercial hydroponic plant growth solution. The nutrient quality of anaerobic effluent could be highly variable with the process and the waste material used and dilution may depend on the nutrient content of the effluent. It is recommended that, a pre-treatment of the effluent to increase DO and reduce ammonium content is required before plant application, and simple dilution by itself is not suitable for optimum plant growth in a hydroponic system.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: International Water Association Publishing
Copyright: © IWA Publishing 2012.
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