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My name is Marios Vassiliou, I am 27 years old and I come from Cyprus. I
have graduated from the American Academy in Larnaca, in 1990 where I
studied A levels in accounting, economics, and statistics (these are
quite irrelevant to the rest of my studies). I then spent 26 months
doing my national service, being a sergeant major. In 1992 I moved on to
the collage of agriculture at Oaklands (UK) where I had two years of
study obtaining an ND Horticulture with a degree of Merit +. In this
institution I have started to take interest into soil less production
systems and I have since studied the subject thoroughly.
During the years at the collage I have taken on a lot of knowledge into
plant production, but my ambition was to study plants from their
scientific point of view. I entered the University of Nottingham in
1994, where I have graduated in 1997 obtaining a degree of 2:1
(honours), which is the basic requirement for studying a PhD in most
countries of the world. I studied Horticulture, Plant pathology and
Plant cell and molecular biology, and carried out my research project in
Aeroponics developing a spacing system for plants (lettuce) providing
for a higher output per unit area of crop.
I wanted to start my PhD then but some health problems involving my
mother forced me to remain inactive over the last summer. So I want to
get on with it now. I now find it important to give you a brief summary
on the research that I am trying to undertake.
Development of a hybrid hydroponic and aeroponic system with recycling
aquaculture and bacteria filters to achieve maximum crop quality and
output in a fairly self-sustained unit.
During the last few years a lot of development has been carried out in
hydroponic and aeroponic systems to provide for maximum output.
Aquaculture wastes in combination with bacteria filters have also been
used to sustain fertilization and water purification in such systems.
The idea of this project is to develop a model system, which will
include all the above components. A 500 m2 glasshouse will be set in
Cyprus with all the equipment to provide for optimum climatic conditions
to facilitate the AYR growth of a crop (most likely to be lettuce). The
choice of lettuce is justified through the fairly short life of the crop
and the large amount of literature written on growing this crop in
hydroponics and aeroponics. A fish tank will be combined in the system
to provide for all or some of the fertilization required by the crop
(the fish used will probably be Tilapia). The waste from the fish will
be monitored and then passed through a bacteria filter if further
breakdown of nutrients is required.
The solution of the adjusted fish waste and water will then be carried
in the g/h in an 'open' (non-recycling aeroponic fog system). The run
off from this system will be topping up the NFT hydroponic tank, which
will be a 'closed' system. The same crop will be grown in NFT providing
for comparisons between the two systems. Excess water from this system
will be purified by a small desalination plant and replaced in the fish
tank. Solar power and fresh water will run the whole unit, with
external minute inputs of fish food and maybe some fertilizer for the
Studies can be carried out on the root and stem morphology and
physiology in both crop-growing systems. The overall performance of the
crop will be analyzed and assessed in order to evaluate the commercial
such a system in arid and semi-arid areas of the world.
A number of studies can be carried out in the crop such as:
1. The nitrate content of the crops.
2. Solution effects on morphology and physiology.
3. Economically optimum temperatures.
4. Effects of CO2 in roots and shoots.
5. The development and economic evaluation of the fish component.
6. Monitoring the pathogens in the whole system.
The system can be used when set, for a number of years as a good
experimental tool that will allow for further developments in such mixed
I suggest that I carry out an extended literature review on the various
components between from the spring of 1999 until the summer of 2000 (for
12-18 months), in your institution. During this time I, with probable
sponsorship from my
government and your help, will be buying the various components. From
the summer of 2000 the system will be up and running and considering the
life of lettuce (about 8 weeks), will provide for approximately 6-7
crops in a year. The first year will be dedicated into running the
system efficiently and a further two years will be used into
experimenting into the various components mentioned above. The last few
months will be dedicated into completing the thesis.
The system will then be available for further research for students
from all around the world, since the area around the unit will be
developed into an agricultural collage.
I would like to know if there are any possibilities to undertake this
research in your institution.
Thank you for your valuable time.