Aquaponic growing methods have many positive benefits and outcomes, like being environmentally responsible and no chemical usage. Aquaponics refers to the relationship between water, aquatic organisms, bacteria, nutritional dynamics, and plants that grow together in water areas worldwide. 

There are disadvantages that require exploration and consideration as well. One such negative aspect is the risk of parasites that can affect humans. Liver flukes are an uncommon, yet present danger in aquaponic agriculture.

aquaponics human disease parasites liver fluke

WHAT IS THE LIVER FLUKE?

liver flukes aquaponics human-disease parasites
The liver fluke is a parasitic worm.  They are parasites of the liver, bile ducts or gallbladder of various mammals, including humans, which are capable of moving with blood circulation.

THE LIFE CYCLE OF THE LIVER FLUKE

The life cycle of the liver fluke involves mammals, a water supply, aquatic plants, and snails. It’s requires two or more different hosts and has a free-living larval stage in water.
The liver fluke life cycle is complex. First, it infects the plants that are eaten by the fish. After the fish have eaten the plants, the liver fluke lays eggs inside of the fish. The eggs are released through the fish’s feces and are then passed on to the snails.
liver flukes parasites aquaponics human diseases

During its life cycle, liver fluke must develop in a particular type of small snails for 2-3 months, before passing from the snail to the definitive host. So, it’s best not to add snails to aquaponic systems for algae control because of the risk of contracting liver flukes.  It’s recommended to always keep the water clean and free from snails.

PREVENTING LIVER FLUKES

Watercress and other plants that grow in flooded areas are commonly infected with liver flukes. Any type of plant grown using aquaponics could be susceptible.
In general, aquaponic growers prevent liver flukes in their systems by avoiding any animal feces infecting the system, never introducing snails, and washing all produce thoroughly before enjoying.
human disease parasites aquaponics liver flukes
Aquaponics Human disease parasites liver flukes
Liver fluke infections cause serious medical and veterinary illness. It can produce either acute or chronic disease. There are two families of liver flukes that may cause worms in the human liver and biliary tract, which can lead to obstruction, liver, and gall bladder problems.

Affiliate Links to Related Materials

aquaponic fish tank
4oceans
aquaponics for beginners