Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Engineering, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

2 Department of Horticulture Sciences, Agriculture Faculty, Saveh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Saveh, Iran


The aquaponic cultivation system, which is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponic systems, is among the novel cultivation systems. In an aquaponics system, it is possible to simultaneously produce aquatic animals and vegetables. One of the most important components of each soil-free system is the selection of a suitable substrate. This substrate makes water and nutrients available for the root system and also contributes to the proper establishment of the plant. It must also be non-toxic and should not impair plant growth. Another point to consider in the selection of the substrate is its cost and availability, as the transport process will increase the costs of initial establishments in such systems. Amon vegetables, basil is a special crop with a short growing season and high economic value, which is also highly suitable for an aquaponic system. The present study was carried out with the aim of comparing some morphological and physiological traits of 'purple' and 'green' basil cultivars in different substrates in the aquaponics system.
Materials and Methods
 The present study was conducted as a factorial based on a completely randomized design with three replicates in a research greenhouse located in Zanjan city. The experimental treatments included 10 substrates (cocopeat, perlite, sand, pumice, cocopeat + perlite (50:50), cocopeat + pumice (50:50), cocopeat + sand (50:50), pumice + sand (50:50), pumice + perlite (50:50) and sand + perlite (50:50)) and two basil cultivars ('green' and pueple). The aquaponic system in this study comprised of a 300 L fish tank containing 100 common carps. The fish were nurtured twice a day with powdered fish feed containing protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, etc. The water in the fish tank was filtered and fish wastes were removed in a filtration tank before entering the aquaponics medium to be used by the plant root system. Chemical properties of the fish water including pH, and nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3), and ammonium (NH4) concentrations were controlled using diagnostic kits on a weekly basis. At the flowering stage, various traits including plant height, dry and fresh weights of roots and shoots, number of nods, number of leaves, and leaf area were measured to investigate the growth of basil plants. Also, physio-phytochemical traits including the contents of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total chlorophyll, carotenoid and anthocyanin were measured. Analysis of variance of the data was carried out using the SAS software. Also, the least significant difference method (LSD) was used for the comparison of means.
Results and Discussion
According to the results, the greatest plant height (60.57 cm), shoot fresh weight (90.57 g), root fresh weight (22.33 g), and leaf number (133.99) belonged to purple basil and the lowest value for these traits were observed in green basil cultivar. The results of the mean comparison for the morphological traits indicate the superiority of perlite + cocopeat compared with the other substrates. Basil plants cultivated in sand substrate exhibited the lowest values for growth traits compared to other treatments. Analysis of the interaction effect between substrate and cultivar revealed that the highest number of nodes (10.5), dry weight of shoots (25.17 g), dry weight of roots (4.67 g), and leaf area (17.13 cm2) were observed in the perlite + cocopeat substrate with purple basil. Conversely, the lowest values for these traits (5.23, 12.93 g, 1.46 g, and 11.03 cm2, respectively) were recorded in the silt substrate with the green basil cultivar. The results related to physio-phytochemical traits showed that the highest content of chlorophyll a (1.57 mg g -1 FW) and total chlorophyll (2.1 mg g -1 FW) were observed in the perlite + cocopeat substrate and green basil. Also, anthocyanin content was the highest (0.17 mg g -1 FW) when the purple cultivar was grown in the perlite + c cocopeat substrate. The lowest content of chlorophyll a and total chlorophyll were recorded in the sand substrate and purple cultivar with 0.96 and 1.17 mg g -1 FW, respectively. Also, the lowest content of anthocyanin was related to the green basil cultivar with 0.058 mg g -1 FW.
Overall, the 'purple' cultivar of basil was superior to the 'green' cultivar regarding most traits in the aquaponic system. Also, substrates containing perlite and cocopeat led to better results compared with the other substrates, whereas the basil plants grown in sand and pumice had lower growth, relatively.


Main Subjects

©2023 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source.

  1. Alaei, M., Roosta, H.R., Mortazavi, N., & Alaei, H. (2014). A comparison of various substrates impact on yield and quality of Chrysanthemum ×morifolium Puma in hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Plant Production, 37(3), 115-127. (In Persian)
  2. AlShrouf, A. (2017). Hydroponics, aeroponic and aquaponic as compared with conventional farming. American Academic Scientific Research Journal for Engineering Technology, 27, 247–255.
  3. Arnon, D.I .(1949). Copper enzymes in isolated chloroplasts. Polyphenoloxidase in Beta vulgaris. Plant Physiology, 24, 1-15.
  4. Bharathi, V., Priya, A.S., & Firdous, S.J. (2012). Antibacterial activity of stem extracts of Ocimum basilicum. Journal of Chemical, Biological and Physical Science, 2, 298–301.
  5. de Carvalho, R.O., Machado, M.B., Scherer, V.S., Fuentes, G.C., da Luz, C.A.S., & da Luz, M.L.G.S. (2015). Hydroponic lettuce production and minimally processed lettuce. Agricultural Engineering International CIGR Journal, 17, 290–294.
  6. Doaguie, A., & Ghazanfari Moghadam, A. (2015). The Application of date palm fibers as growth medium and optimization of moisture content and holding capacity by response surface methodology. Journal of Science and Technology of Greenhouse Culture, 5(4), 1–14.
  7. Ferrarezi, R., & Bailey, D. (2019). Basil performance evaluation in aquaponics. Horticulural Technology, 29, 1-9.
  8. Filep, R.M., Diaconescu, S., Costache, M., Stavrescu-Bedivan, M.M., Badulescu, L., & Nicolae, C.G. (2016). Pilot aquponic growing system of carp (Cyprinus carpio) and basil (Ocmium basilicum). Agriculture and Agriculture Science Procedia, 10, 255-260.
  9. Fotouhi Ghazvini, R., Payvast, G., & Azarian, H. (2007). Effect of clinoptilolitic-zeolite and perlite mixtures on the yield and qulity of strawberry in soil-less culture. Journal of Horticultural Science, 9(6), 885-888.
  10. Ghasemi Ghehsareh, M., Ghanbari Soleimanabadi, M., & Reezi, S. (2021). Effects of peat moss, cocopeat and licorice residues on geranium growth characteristics (Pelargonium × hortorum ‘Ringo 2000 Deep Red’). Flower and Ornamental Plants, 6(1), 71 -84.
  11. Gruda, N., Qaryouti, M.M., & Leonardi, C. (2013). Growing media. In Good agricultural practices for greenhouse vegetable crops–principles for Mediterranean climate areas (Baudoin W. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy. 271–302.
  12. Khalaj, M., Amiri, M., & Azimi, M.H. (2014). Effect of different growth media on nutrients uptake, growth characteristics and yield of Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) in a soil-less culture system. Journal of Horticultural Science27(4), 470-479. (In Persian).
  13. Kharrazi, M., Sharifi, A., Nejatizadeh, S., Khadem, A., & Moradian, M. (2020). Selection of optimal cultivation media for gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) growth in the hydroponic culture system. Journal of Horticultural Science, 34(2), 261-271.
  14. Lal, R. (2013). Beyond Intensification. Paper Presentation at the ASA, CSSA, & SSSA International Annual Meetings, Tampa, Florida, USA.
  15. Landi, M., Guidi, L., Pardossi, A., Tattini, M., & Gould, K.S. (2014). Photoprotection by foliar anthocyanins mitigates effects of boron toxicity in sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum). Planta, 240, 941–953.
  16. Latha, G.K., & Nagesh. (2022). Aquaponics-a new approach for vegetable production. Vigyan Varta, 3(11), 51-54.
  17. Lichtenthaler, H.K., & Buschmann, C. (2001). Chlorophylls and carotenoids: Measurement and characterization by UV‐VIS spectroscopy. Current Protocols in Food Analytical Chemistry, 1(1), F4-3.
  18. Makri, O., Kintzios, S., & Ocimum S.P. (2008). Botany, cultivation, pharmaceutical properties, and biotechnology. Journal of Herbs Spices and Medicinal Plants, 13, 123–150.
  19. Mazari, H., Delshad, M., & Kashi, A. (2019). The effects of substrate physical properties on growth and irrigation water use efficiency of greenhouse tomato transplant. Iranian Journal of Horticultural Sciences,49 (4): 869-880. (In Persian).
  20. Mol, J., Grotewold, E., & Koes, R. (1998). How genes paint flowers and seeds. Trends in Plant Science, 3, 212–217.
  21. Pivot, D., Reist, A., Gillioz, J.M., & Ryser, J.P. (1993). Water quality, climatic environment and mineral nutrition of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in closed soilless cropping system. International Symposium on Water Quality & Quantity -Greenhouse, 207–214.
  22. Prinsi, B., Morgutti, S., Negrini N., Faoro, F., & Espen, L. (2020). Insight into composition of bioactive phenolic compounds in leaves and flowers of green and purple basil. Plants, 9, 22.
  23. Rakocy, J.E., Shultz, R.C., Bailey, D.S., & Thoman, E.S. (2004). Aquaponic production of tilapia and basil: comparing a batch and staggered cropping system. Acta Horticulurae, 648, 63–69.
  24. Roosta, H.R., & Arabpour, S. (2013). Comparision of the growth, mineral nutrient concentrations and essential oil of two iranian local basil (Ocimum basilicum) in hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Journal of Horticultural Science, 27(3), 235-246.
  25. Roosta, H.R., & Afsharipour, S. (2012). Effects of different cultivation media on vegetative growth, ecophysiological traits and nutrients concentration in strawberry under hydroponic and aquaponic cultivation systems. Advances in Environmental Biology, 6, 543-555.
  26. Roosta, H.R., Bagheri, V., & Kian H. (2017). Effect of different planting substrates on vegetative and physiologic characteristics and nutrients content of rose (Rosa hybrida grandgala) in hydroponic system. Soil and Plant Interactions (Journal of Science and Technology of Greenhouse Culture), 28(7), 27-39. (In Persian with English abstract).
  27. Tattini, M., Landi, M., Brunetti, C., Giordano, C., Remorini, D., Gould, K. S., & Guidi, L. (2014). Epidermal coumaroyl anthocyanins protect sweet basil against excess light stress: multiple consequences of light attenuation. Physiologia Plantarum, 152, 585–598.
  28. United Nations (UN), (2016). UN news: World population. Available from: (Last viewed Jan 2023).
  29. Wagner, G.J. (1979). Content and vacuole/extravacuole distribution of neutral sugars, free amino acids, and anthocyanin in protoplasts. Plant Physiology, 64(1), 88-93.