story-waste-not-want-not-nick-savidov-1.jpgHe’s been referred to as the Yoda of aquaponics, and with good reason. Senior research scientist Nick Savidov has been involved in aquaponics research for more than a decade and a half and has been a pioneer in the field, placing Alberta at the forefront of this developing industry.

Nick was the first researcher to suggest using carbonized agricultural by-products known as “biochar” as a soilless medium for the production of greenhouse vegetables. His work has stimulated the aquaponics industry and initiated commercialization of the technology. One of his most notable contributions has been the development of a fully automated zero-waste aquaponics system – the first in the world.

Recognized internationally as an expert, Nick was born and raised in Russia, where he completed his M.Sc. and PhD degrees in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. He conducted his postdoctoral studies in Israel, focusing on Plant Biochemistry, before moving to Canada in 1997. His research continued at the University of Alberta in Plant Molecular Biology until he took on the role of lead of the provincial greenhouse research program in Brooks. There, he worked closely with aquaculture researchers from Lethbridge College, making the transition from the Crop Diversification Centre to our Aquaculture Centre of Excellence seamless.

Areas of expertise

  • aquaponics
  • integrated fish and plant systems
  • plant physiology
  • biochemistry

Current research project

Made possible by a five-year, $2.1 million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), this Integrated Fish and Plant Systems project is addressing critical issues relating to the production of aquaponics, including food safety, consumer acceptance and economic ROI. Find out more about this project.



  1. Khiari Z, Kaluthota S, Savidov NA (2019) Aerobic bioconversion of aquaculture solid waste into liquid fertilizer: Effects of bioprocess parameters on kinetics of nitrogen mineralization Aquaculture Volume 500, 1 February 2019, Pages 492-499.
  2. Vi, VA, Gloriozova, TA, Poroikov, VV, Terent’ev AO, Savidov NA, Dembitsky VM. (2018). Peroxy steroids derived from plant and fungi and their biological activities. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. September 2018, Volume 102, Issue 18, pp 7657–7667.|
  3. Savidov NA, Gloriozova, TA, Poroikov VV, Dembitsky, VM (2018). Highly oxygenated isoprenoid lipids derived from fungi and fungal endophytes: Origin and biological activities. Steroids. Volume 140, December 2018, Pages 114-124.
  4. Khan M, Savidov NA, Zhang J, Yang J, Anderson T, Harfield D and Anyia AO (2015) Biochar Substrate for Hydroponic Vegetable Production. Chapter in: Biochar: Production, Characterization, and Applications (2015). Ed: Yong Sik Ok, Sophie M. Uchimiya, Scott X. Chang, Nanthi Bolan. CRC Press. Taylor and Francis Group. ISBN 9781482242294. September 18, 2015. 416 pages.
  5. Howard R, Harding H, Savidov NA, Lisowski S, Burke D, Pugh S (2015). Identifying effective chemical disinfectants for use in sanitizing greenhouses. Report. Alberta Professional Horticultural Growers Congress and Foundation Society. Alberta Agriculture and Food. November 22, 2007.
  6. Gangenes Skar, SL, Liltved, H, Rye Kledal, P, Høgberget, R, Björnsdottir, R, Homme, JM, Oddsson, S, Paulsen, H, Drengstig, A, Savidov, NA, Seljåsen, R. (2015) Aquaponics NOMA (Nordic Marine) – New Innovations for Sustainable Aquaculture in the Nordic Countries. Book. Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic Innovation. ISBN: 978-82-8277-076-7. 108 pages.
  7. Shultz, R.C. and N.A. Savidov. (2014).  Evolution of aquaponics in Alberta, Canada.  Aquaculture America 2014.  Seattle, WA.  Feb 10, 2014.
  8. Shultz, R.C., J. Derksen, and N.A. Savidov. (2014).  Evolution of aquaponics in Alberta.  Aquaculture Canada 2014.  St. Andrews, New Brunswick.  June 3, 2014.
  9. Shultz, R.C., J. Derksen, and N. Savidov.  (2014).  Development of a zero-discharge aquaponic system optimized for greenhouse production in Canada.  Aquaculture Europe 2014 – Adding Value.  San Sebastian, Spain.  Sep 17, 2014.
  10. Nichols, MA, and Savidov, NA. (2012) “Aquaponics: a Nutrient and Water efficient Production System”Acta Horticulturae. 947, 129-132.
  11. Nichols, MA, and Savidov, NA. (2012) “Aquaponics: Protein and Vegetables for Developing Countries”Acta Horticulturae. 958, 189-193.
  12. Nichols, MA, Savidov, NA and Aschim, K. (2010) “Recent Advances in Coir as a Growing Medium” Practical Hydroponics and Greenhouses 112, 40-42.
  13. Nichols, MA, Savidov, NA and Aschim, K. (2010) Biochar as a Hydroponic Growing Medium. Practical Hydroponics and Greenhouses. Issue 112 (May/Jun 2010).
  14. Nichols, MA, and Savidov, NA. (2009) “Evaluation of Greenhouse Substrates Containing Zeolite”Acta Horticulturae 843, 297-302.
  15. Nichols, MA, and Savidov, NA. (2009) “Recent Advances in Coir as a Growing Medium”Acta Horticulturae 843, 333-336.
  16. Bandara, M, Savidov, N & Driedger D (2008) Evaluation of Field Pepperweed (Lepidium campestre L.) as a Source for Glucoraphanin Production Acta Hort., 765, 165-172
  17. Savidov, NA, Hutchings, E & Rakocy, J E (2007) “Fish and plant production in a recirculating aquaponics system: A new approach to sustainable agriculture in Canada”    Acta Hort., 742, 209-221.
  18. Neeser, CD. Driedger, and NA Savidov. (2007), Production of hydroponically grown calcium fortified lettuce. Acta Horticulturae 744, 317-321.
  19. Good, AG, SJ. Johnson, M De Pauw, RT. Carroll, NA Savidov, J Vidmar, Z Lu, G Taylor and V Stroeher (2007) “Engineering Nitrogen Use Efficiency with alanine aminotransferase” Can. Journal of Botany  85, pp. 252-262.
  20. Savidov NA (2007) Production of tilapia and greenhouse vegetables using aquaponics system based on UVI model in Alberta Canada. Proceedings of Asian-Pacific Aquaculture conference, August 5-10 2007, Hanoi, Vietnam (Invited speaker, personal time)
  21. Savidov N (2007) “Latest Canadian Aquaponics Research: Is Aquaponics a Viable Option for Fish Farmers?” Proceedings of the 24th Annual Meeting of Aquaculture Association of Canada, September 23 - 26, 2007, Edmonton, Canada
  22. Bandara, M, Savidov, N, & Driedger D (2007) The impact of selected abiotic stresses on glucoraphanin content in field pepperweed (Lepidium campestre L.). The Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Human Health Effects of Fruits and Vegetables, October 9-13, 2007 Houston, USA
  23. Good, AG, Savidov NA, Stroeher V, Taylor G (2000) Enhanced nitrogen efficiency by tissue specific expression of an aminotransferase gene. Proceedings of 6th International Congress on Plant Molecular Biology, Québec, Canada June 18 - 24, S 10 - 9, 2000.
  24. Savidov NA, Alikulov ZA, Lips SH (1998) Identification of an endogenous NADPH-regenerating system coupled to nitrate reduction in vitro in plant and fungal crude extracts. Plant Science 133:33-45
  25. Savidov NA, Alikulov ZA, Lips SH (1998) Identification of an endogenous NADPH-regenerating system coupled to nitrate reduction in vitro in plant and fungal crude extracts. Plant Science 133: 33-45
  26. Sagi M, Savidov NA, L'vov-NP, Lips SH (1997) Nitrate reductase and molybdenum cofactor in annual ryegrass as affected by salinity and nitrogen source. Physiologia Plantarum 99: 546-553
  27. Savidov NA, Sagi M, Lips SH (1997) The assay of the molybdenum cofactor in higher plants as affected by pyridine nucleotides and nitrate. Plant Physiology And Biochemistry 35: 419-426
  28. Savidov NA, Tokarev BI, Lips SH (1997) Regulation of Mo-cofactor, NADH- and NAD(P)H-specific nitrate reductase activities in the wild type and two nar-mutant lines of barley (Hordeum vulgare L). Journal Of Experimental Botany 48: 847-855
  29. Savidov NA, L'vov-NP, Sagi M, Lips SH (1997) Molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis in two barley (Hordeum vulgare L) genotypes as affected by nitrate in the tissue and in the growth medium. Plant Science 122: 51-59
  30. Cramer MD, Savidov NA, Lips SH (1996) The influence of enriched rhizosphere CO2 on N uptake and metabolism in wild-type and NR-deficient barley plants. Physiologia Plantarum 97: 47-54
  31. Savidov NA, Yagodin BA (1992) Using 3,4-xylenole to improve accuracy of nitrogen-15 determination in different N fractions of plant samples Agrochemistry 0: 134-137
  32. Savidov NA, Semjonov YI, Yagodin BA (1992) Determination of nitrogen-15 in samples with low N content Agrochemistry 0: 82-84
  33. Yagodin BA, Savidov NA, Dymovich A (1992) Oxidation of ammonium to nitrates in higher plants. Soviet Plant Physiology 39: 565-569
  34. Savidov NA, Yagodin BA (1991) Using modified vapour-distillary methods for preparative extraction of plant nitrates in investigations using nitrogen-15 Izvestiya Timiryazevskoi Sel'Skokhozyaistvennoi Akademii (Proceedings of the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy). 0: 31-39
  35. Yagodin BA, Savidov NA, Vernichenko I, V (1991) Oxidation of ammonium nitrogen to nitrates in sterile potato plant tissues. Izvestiya Timiryazevskoi Sel'Skokhozyaistvennoi Akademii (Proceedings of the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy). 0: 3-12
  36. Yagodin BA, Torshin SP, Kokurin NL, Savidov NA (1990) Factors affecting content of microelements in the grain of legumes Agrochemistry
  37. Yagodin BA, Torshin SP, Kokurin NL, Savidov NA (1989) Factors affecting content of microelements in the grain of cereals Agrochemistry.