Kentucky State University received $740,000 grant funding for aquaponics project
The Kentucky State University School of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, in the College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences, received approval of funding on a grant proposal titled, “Improving Phosphorus Recovery in Aquaponic Systems through Environmental Manipulation of the Plant Rhizosphere Microbiota.” The project will run for four years with total funding of $740,000.
The highly competitive grant program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), and Agricultural Microbiome in Plant Systems and Natural Resources.
“With the increasing interest in aquaponics in Kentucky, I am thrilled that USDA is supporting this research project, which will greatly benefit our stakeholders in this state and beyond,” Dr. Kirk Pomper, dean of the College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences and director of the Land Grant Program, said.
Dr. Jim Tidwell is the project investigator and Janelle Hager is the lead author on the proposal, with the assistance of Leigh Anne Bright. The project will also involve close cooperation with Dr. Carlos Rodrigue-Lopez and Dr. Mark Coyne of the University of Kentucky.
“Agriculture is increasingly a technology driven enterprise. We see several examples of that right now in Kentucky,” Tidwell, professor and chair of the School of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, said. “As we try to feed more people with limited resources and to bring the means of production closer to the consumer, controlled environment systems like aquaponics will become even more important in the future. The funding in this grant will allow us to better understand the bacterial transformations essential in these simple, yet complex systems, allowing even greater resource efficiencies as we move forward.”