In-situ molecular-based monitoring: a tool for tackling the operational and environmental challenges of aquaculture (IsmoTool) (39488)

Project Details


Fish production from Norwegian aquaculture is planning expansion. That poses several environmental challenges, causing the media attention. There is also a significant operational cost for this industry to reduce fish loss by combating parasitism and disease. Tons of chemicals to reduce that loss are used and this is increasing environmental concerns. Early detection of fish infection is one way to mitigate these challenges. Rapid counteractive treatment to stop spreading and reducing the use of hazardous chemicals are some of the benefits from early detection. 

Target organisms of concern for fish aquaculture are the salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) and other small organisms like Paramoeba peruransi that causes severe gill disease (AGD). Other environmental concern is fish escapes that also requires better control and early detection. Considerable interest to survey the environment using DNA analysis is recently providing new opportunities for these challenges. 

The original idea of ISMOTOOL is that from a simple sample of seawater, numerous species can be identified. Additionally, automatized sampling and in-situ analysis are doable. ISMOTOOL will combine these pioneering approaches. DNA-technology and a “genosensor”, the Environmental Sampling Processor (ESP), will be applied for early detection and quantification of these pest organisms. DNA shed from salmon (and trout) will also be used to assess fish escapees. With that, fish farmers will obtain rapid warnings of infection or fish escapees to manage their response. The ESP is a compact and fully robotized underwater “lab in a can” that analyzes seawater samples for species of interest with DNA. Following optimization and tests in the laboratory, this unique instrument will be deployed at a fish farm to demonstrate the readiness and operability. 

This project integrates a high level of innovation with benefits for the sustainability of aquaculture industry and societal acceptance in the years to come.

DTU Aqua, National Institute of Aquatic Resources
NORCE, Norway (coordinator)

The project is funded by The Norwegian Research Council. 

Research area: Population Genetics
Effective start/end date01/06/201731/05/2020


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