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Forskningsartikel2021Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Biogas Digestate in Vegetable Hydroponic Production: pH Dynamics and pH Management by Controlled Nitrification

Lind, Olle Pelayo; Hultberg, Malin; Bergstrand, Karl-Johan; Larsson-Jonsson, Helene; Caspersen, Siri; Asp, Hakan


Soilless cultivation of vegetables with digestate fertilizer from biogas production as a nutrient source is a promising method for integrating food production and organic waste management. In this study, bok choy (Brassica rapa var. chinensis) was cultivated in a hydroponic nutrient film technique system with biogas digestate as the only fertilizer source. Nitrification in moving bed biofilm reactors (external and/or integrated into the hydroponic cultivation system) was employed to lower the high ammonium concentration in the digestate prior to use. Treatments with differing nitrification and digestate input strategies were compared with respect to pH dynamics, crop growth, shoot water content, and shoot mineral content. The results showed that < 20% longer cultivation time (< 1 week) gave similar yield in biogas digestate-based hydroponics as in conventional hydroponics based on synthetic fertilizers. Automatic pH control through addition of digestate resulted in similar shoot dry weight as in the mineral fertilizer reference system. It can be concluded that biogas digestate is a suitable plant nutrient source for hydroponic production of bok choy, considering productivity and circularity aspects. The combined impact of digestate ammonium content, digestate pH, and the nitrification step needs to be considered when designing a hydroponic system with biogas digestate as the fertilizer source. Graphic


Anaerobic digestate; Biogas production; Biofertilizer; Circular economy; Organic hydroponics

Publicerad i

Waste and Biomass Valorization
2021, Volym: 12, nummer: 1, sidor: 123-133