BMC Plant Biol. 2023 Sep 9;23(1):417. doi: 10.1186/s12870-023-04422-5.
BACKGROUND: Soil salinity, soil infertility, and freshwater scarcity are among the major constraints affecting agricultural ecosystems in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. Hence, there is a need to look for salt-tolerant crops and fish that can be successfully cultivated and reared respectively in such harsh environments. The implementation of biosaline integrated aquaculture-agriculture systems (IAAS) utilizing both salt-tolerant crops and fish could improve food and feed production in arid and semi-arid regions. This study, therefore, investigated the influence of salinity on the biometric traits of striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) under an IAAS.
METHOD: The experiment followed a randomized completely block design of three salinity treatments with three replicates namely, T0: Control (freshwater mixed with chemical fertilizers), T1: 5,000 ppm, T2: 10,000 ppm, and T3: 15,000 ppm.
RESULTS: Irrigating barley with saline aquaculture wastewater at different salinities (5,000 ppm, 10,000 ppm, and 15,000 ppm) did not significantly affect the agro-morphological parameters (internode number per plant, stalk diameter, leaf number per plant, leaf area index, and leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD)) of the plants at 90 days after sowing. Moreover, the forage yield and forage quality in terms of fiber fraction, nutrient composition, and in vitro digestibility of the forage biomass were not severely affected by high salinity compared to the control (freshwater and inorganic fertilizers). Our results also showed that rearing striped catfish in saline water not exceeding 10,000 ppm did not negatively impact the growth performance (final weight, body weight gain, feed conversion ratio, specific growth rate, condition factor, and survival) and the health status of the fish.
CONCLUSIONS: The integration of striped catfish and barley production in water salinities below 15,000 ppm could be a feasible alternative in safeguarding food and feed security in regions affected by soil salinity, soil infertility, and freshwater scarcity. Moreover, the salinity regime of 5,000 ppm could bring higher economic gains to farmers regarding higher crop yields (fish and forage yield).