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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Comparison of two commercial recirculated aquacultural systems and their microbial potential in plant disease suppression

Khalil, Sammar; Panda, Preeti; Ghadamgahi, Farideh; Rosberg, Anna Karin; Vetukuri, Ramesh


Background Aquaponics are food production systems advocated for food security and health. Their sustainability from a nutritional and plant health perspective is, however, a significant challenge. Recirculated aquaculture systems (RAS) form a major part of aquaponic systems, but knowledge about their microbial potential to benefit plant growth and plant health is limited. The current study tested if the diversity and function of microbial communities in two commercial RAS were specific to the fish species used (Tilapia or Clarias) and sampling site (fish tanks and wastewaters), and whether they confer benefits to plants and have in vitro antagonistic potential towards plant pathogens. Results Microbial diversity and composition was found to be dependent on fish species and sample site. The Tilapia RAS hosted higher bacterial diversity than the Clarias RAS; but the later hosted higher fungal diversity. Both Tilapia and Clarias RAS hosted bacterial and fungal communities that promoted plant growth, inhibited plant pathogens and encouraged biodegradation. The production of extracellular enzymes, related to nutrient availability and pathogen control, by bacterial strains isolated from the Tilapia and Clarias systems, makes them a promising tool in aquaponics and in their system design. Conclusions This study explored the microbial diversity and potential of the commercial RAS with either Tilapia or Clarias as a tool to benefit the aquaponic system with respect to plant growth promotion and control of plant diseases.


aquaponics; Tilapia; Clarias,; Pseudomonas flourescens; Pseudomonas veronii; plant growth promotion; in vitro antagonistic

Published in

BMC Microbiology
2021, Volume: 21, number: 1, article number: 205