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Use of Biochar and Aquaponics: Augmentation of Agricultural Systems to Increase Available Food Supply
AuthorMurphy, Brandi M
AdvisorOmaye, Stanley T.
Environmental Sciences and Health
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The augmentation of agricultural systems refers to enhancing the ability of agricultural systems to produce increasing yields to sustain the earth’s growing population. With the successes experienced by modern agriculture, sustainable use of our natural resources such as soil, water, and biodiversity, has been compromised, overstressed, and degraded. I examined two potential methods for augmentation of agricultural production: use of biochar as a soil amendment and use of a soilless aquaponics system for crop production. I observed that although these methods have been useful throughout history, standardization of practices and products are needed if these methods are to contribute to sustainable food production in the future. The biochar experiment showed that although literature review of other experiments showed an increase in production through increased soil health and fertility, the results obtained in this experiment did not support that hypothesis. An aquaponic system was constructed from prototype to working model for research and educational purposes. Measured production of this system and the ability of aquaponics systems, in general, to be located within urban centers makes them feasible methods for production; however, they are expensive to start and the energy they consume makes them difficult to maintain.