RASOPTA project - Safeguarding future production of fish in aquaculture systems with water recirculation
Globally, aquaculture is the fastest-growing animal food sector and today almost half of the World´s consumption of all fish products originates from aquaculture. However, high water consumption and nutrient release from fish farms cause environmental and public concern. This has led to development of fish breeding in systems with water recirculation (RAS). This technology reduces the water consumption, but the maintaining of proper rearing environment in reused water is challenging.
The primary object of the consortial project including universities (7), academic research institutes (3), and industrial partners (8) from Denmark, Faeroe Islands, Norway, Spain, Germany, France, Hungary and Tasmania, is to identify emerging problems and bridge the difficulties on the breeding and production in water recirculation systems of fish species (salmon, rainbow trout, pike-perch and sturgeon for caviar production), which are important for human nutrition and the economy in Europe.
The research is focused on 3 work packages (WPs) with the central pivot of developing a new DNA-based chip designed as an early warning tool for typical health and water quality hazards for the RAS industry. The involved researcher teams study and analyse (WP1) the changing of water quality, quantity of floating micro-particle, diversity of water and fish microbiome; and (WP2) the effects of biotic and abiotic factors in the water and/or fish feed responsible for off-flavour characters of fish meat; and (WP3) the prevalence of disease-causing bacteria and parasites during the rearing period in RAS, in addition they establish safe procedures for biosecurity and for better fish welfare.
To achieve these goals, the project offers practice-oriented PhD education for 12 early-stage researchers (ESR) - in the first four years of the research careers after graduation - to create a new generation of highly skilled young researchers within aquaculture disciplines.
ESR(11) student in cooperation with our - Fish Pathology and Parasitology Research - team surveys, identifies, and characterizes the prevalence of external pathogenic and commensal parasites on gill and skin in RAS by microscopic and molecular methods and delineate their specific target sequences for DNA chip application within the framework of WP3.
In addition, the ESR12 whose main task are designed and validated a novel DNA chip for diagnosis and early warning for fish pathogens, microbial water quality hazards and emergence of off-flavour producing microorganisms in RAS will be hosted for a short time by our Institute.
Link for further information: http://rasopta.ku.dk