Project: Microbial management in RAS for sustainable aquaculture production

Acronym RASbiome (Reference Number: 117)
Duration 01/09/2020 - 31/08/2023
Project Topic In the RASbiome project, we aim at improving the sustainability of fish production in freshwater recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) by introducing new and innovative approaches for microbiological water treatment. We will implement two fundamentally distinct biological water treatment strategies, new to RAS, to improve the management of nitrogen compounds. The first strategy involves anaerobic ammonia-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria, and results in almost complete removal of nitrogen from the water. Compared to current treatment methods for nitrogen removal in RAS, this strategy excludes the need for external organic carbon, it entails reduced energy consumption, and reduced CO2 production. The second strategy take advantage of bioflocs formed by heterotrophic bacteria, assimilating nitrogen. This approach allows for harvesting nutrient rich microbial biomass, and is therefore compatible with recovery and recycling of nitrogen from in RAS water. These new biological water treatment approaches will be implemented in well-considered treatment designs for optimized microbial and chemical water quality. The project is highly multidisciplinary, involving experts from Belgium, Denmark, and Norway in fields of environmental engineering, biotechnology, microbiology, microbial ecology, and aquaculture. Industry partners, including two large commercial producers of salmon smolt and rainbow trout, play a crucial role in the project. We expect the proposed project to promote sustainable fish production by improving fish welfare and productivity due to stable and optimized chemical and microbiological water quality, by reducing environmental impact through nitrogen removal from discharged water, and finally, by reducing operational costs. Thus, the project contributes in developing European aquaculture in a direction characterized by the 3R principle: reducing, reusing and recycling of waste material.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The main results of RASbiome will include: - Comprehensive description on the dynamics of RAS microbiomes and their influence on microbial and chemical water quality under various operation conditions - Development and validation of new microbial water treatment processes in RAS based on PNA and Het-N; - New tools to monitor and understand the effects of water treatment processes on chemical and microbial water quality, nutrient discharges, and possible novel resources produced Through RASbiome deliverables, we aim for effective use of project results, turning them into concrete value and impact for society. With this, we can support visions of cost-efficient, sustainable production of healthy food, and increase the general acceptance of aquaculture production. The results of this project will be readily available for the RAS industry, potential end-users, stake-holders and researchers as public available datasets, reports, scientific manuscripts and conference presentations. Thereby, we ensure that the principles of RRI on data openness, public engagement and science education are followed. We will produce datasets and reports on the microbiological and chemical water quality that are necessary to understand the biofilter function and interactions between microbial and chemical water quality in different RAS compartments. In future, these deliverables can be utilized to identify key microbes in C and N conversion processes and to develop cost-efficient microbiome-based tools for monitoring water quality, making them useful for both academia and industry. In addition, we will deliver information on the microbiological water quality to provide a complete description of the effect on these methods on RAS systems, and identification of possible pathogenic bacteria but also possible novel resources produced with these treatment applications.
Network BlueBio
Call 1st BlueBio Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Norwegian University of Science and Technology Coordinator Norway
2 DTU Partner Denmark
3 Ghent University Partner Belgium
5 Lerøy Seafood AS Partner Norway
6 KRÜGER KALDNES AS Partner Norway