Yield of lettuce grown in aquaponic system using different substrates

<div><p>ABSTRACT In the aquaponic system, the characteristics of the materials used as substrate directly affect plant development, because besides acting as a support base, they must present a surface to fix microorganisms, responsible for the conversion of nutrients into forms more easily available to plants. Thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of four growing substrates on the yield of lettuce grown in aquaponic system. The experimental design was randomized blocks with four treatments, which corresponded to the substrates, and six replicates. Plants were grown using the nutrient film technique (NFT) system. The substrates used in the experiment were: coconut shell fiber with crushed stone #3, expanded vermiculite, zeolite and phenolic foam. The treatment with phenolic foam was considered as the least suitable for lettuce cultivation in aquaponic system, because it caused lower yield (20.8 t ha-1). The treatment using coconut shell fiber with crushed stone #3 was considered as the most adequate, since it led to higher yield (39.9 t ha-1) compared with the other substrates analyzed.</p></div>