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Completed project

Confirmation of ultra-filtration as a viable low-cost water disinfection and nutrient solution recycling option (VG13052)

Key research provider: Primary Principles
Publication date: Thursday, January 5, 2017

What was it all about?

Despite the well‐established productivity and efficiency dividends of closed hydroponics, in which nutrient solution run‐off is reused, more than half of Australia’s hydroponic vegetable growers don’t use a closed system. There are a number of reasons for this, with the most common barrier being an increased risk of disease from recycling nutrient solution, with around two-thirds of common vegetable pathogens spread in water.

While a number of disinfection technologies exist, high costs, inconsistent results and the use of chemicals are obstacles to widespread industry adoption.

The aim of this project was to confirm the practical and economic feasibility of ultra‐filtration as a technology for nutrient solution disinfection.

Replicated trials demonstrated that ultra-filtration is a highly effective disinfection option in situations where fungal pathogens pose a problem. Specialist hydroponic cucumber growers would benefit from this affordable and financially viable means of treating water and recycled nutrient solutions.

The nutrient profile of hydroponic solutions were not adversely impacted by ultra-filtration.

The research team concluded that almost all hydroponic cucumber enterprises would be significantly better off by implementing closed hydroponics with an ultrafiltration disinfection system.


Read more about ultra-filtration for sustainable hydroponics on the project website.

Related levy funds


Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2017. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).