Cortinas, A., Caperta, A.D., Teixeira, G., Carvalho, L. & Abreu, M.M. (2020) Harnessing sediments of coastal aquaculture ponds through Technosols construction for halophyte cultivation using saline water irrigation.Journal of Environmental Management, 261, 109907. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.109907 (IF2020 6,789; Q1 Environmental Sciences)
The Mediterranean aquaculture has been developed mostly in brackish environment in inactive coastal salt production areas. This study aims to utilise Technosols made with aquaculture sediments for Limonium algarvense Erben cultivation. This species that has nutraceutical potential thrives in halophilic environments in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula and in Morocco. A microcosm assay was set up with plants grown in bottom sediments (C+), commercial substrate (C-), and Technosols with amendments mixture application at 180 g/kg (Tec180) or at 360 g/kg (Tec360). These plants were irrigated with saline (assay 1) and/or with deionised water (assay 2). The bottom pond sediments, coffee wastes and the estuarine water were evaluated for diverse physicochemical parameters. Plant growth was characterised through a combined methodology using morphometric, SEM and physiological analysis. The Technosols were constructed with bottom sediments and a mixture of organic wastes used as amendments. Results revealed that the bottom sediments had low pH 3.2, Corg and extractable P and K contents, and high electroconductivity (EC) and N-NH4 concentration. The estuarine water had a neutral pH, high EC and high Cl-, HCO3-, Na+, Mg2+ and Ca2+ but low N-NO3- content. The Technosols showed a significant increase of pH, Corg, K and P and a decrease in N-NH4 and EC in comparison with sediments. Principal component analysis separated the different experiments in three groups: C-, A1 and A2 assays. The C- was highly correlated with Corg, P, K, N-NO3 parameters and total ascorbate. The A1 assay showed a strong association with Na, Ca and EC parameters, whereas the A2 assay presented a strongly correlation with plant growth. Plants from Technosols had greater development when irrigated with deionised water than under salty irrigation as opposed to plants cultivated in unamend sediments. In conclusion, these results support that highly saline sediments could be valorised through Technosols construction to cultivate plants with saline water, with potential application in the agro-food and pharmaceutical industry.