Comparison of Nutritional and Sensory Quality of Vegetables Grown on Aquaponics Technology and Conventional Produces

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Addis Ababa University


Aquaponics is one of a sustainable and alternative food production sector that integrates aquaCUlture with hydroponics. It is an part of aquaculture that uses the natural interaction between bacteria, fish and plants to change waste into clean water. Compared to soilbased agriculture and aquaculture production methods, aquaponics has many benefits including re-use of the wastewater from the growing fish, production of two commodities from a single system and expanded food production by urban residents. For the sustainability of aquaponics, the nutritional and sensory quality of the produces should be equivalent or better than the conventional produces. Thus, this study was aimed to compare the nutritional quality and customer preference of lettuce (Lacnlca sativa L.) and kale (Brassica carinata) grown on aquaponic system with that of conventionally grown in soil-based system. Proximate composition of lettuce and kale was determined using standard methods of AOAC and mineral content was determined by Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emision Spectroscopy. Sensory test was also determined by using discriminatory, preference and rating acceptance test methods. Accordingly, the aquaponic lettuce from Shewa Robit site had a significant (p<O.05) higher amount of crude fiber, magnesium, potassiWll, iron; copper, and boron compared to soil-grown lettuce. Meanwhile the aquaponic lettuce from Addis Ababa University site had significantly higher amount of crude fat, crude ash, cmde fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, boron, copper, and manganese than soil-based lettuce. Aquaponic kale had a significant higher amount of crude protein, crude fat, cmde ash, crude fiber, zinc, copper, manganese, and macro minerals than the soil-based kale. However, the aquaponic lettuce and kale at both sites had lower concentration of vitamin C and ~-carotene than the soil-based lettuce. A higher concentration of nitrate (78.4811g/g) and (70.7311g/g) was obtained in aquaponic lettuce at Shewa Robit and kale at AAU site respectively, compared to the soil-based produces. The concentration of chromium, lead and nickel were lower in the aquaponic lettuce than the soil based havests at AAU site. Aquaponically grown lettuce and kale at AAU site had a lower sensory preference score compared with the soil-based produces. The microbial load of the aquaponics system water, lettuce and kale was within the framework «235 CFU/IOOmL) of EPA for such products. In conclusion, in this study aquaponically grown lettuce and kale had a better nutritional quality compared with the soil-based ones. Besides, the heavy metals concentration was within the acceptable limit of WHOIFAO. Further studies to improve the sensory qualities of the aquaponic leafy vegetables are strongly recommended from this study. Keywords: Aquaponics, nutritional quality, customer preference, microbial load, lzmmful metals



Aquaponics, nutritional quality, customer preference, microbial load, microbial load