Microbial management in RAS for sustainable aquaculture production (RASbiome) (39709)

Project Details


In RASbiome, we aim at improving the sustainability of fish production in freshwater recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). We will investigate microbiomes in RAS in relation to chemical and microbial water quality in commercial RAS, and implement two fundamentally distinct biological water treatment strategies to improve the management of nitrogen compounds in RAS. 

The first strategy involves anaerobic ammonia-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria in a process expected to remove nitrogen from the water without addition of organic carbon, at reduced energy and water consumption and CO2 production. The second strategy takes advantage of heterotrophic bacteria which assimilates nitrogen. This approach allows for harvesting nutrient rich sludge and is therefore compatible with recovery and recycling of nitrogen from in RAS water. Both biological treatment processes will capture dissolved N and lead to a reduced N-footprint. 

Furthermore, we will optimize microbial water quality by reducing the risk for blooms of opportunistic/pathogenic bacteria by implementing these new biological treatment approaches in well-considered treatment designs. 

The project is highly transdisciplinary, and involves experts from Belgium, Denmark, and Norway in fields like environmental engineering, biotechnology, microbiology, microbial ecology, and aquaculture. Industry partners, including two large commercial producers of salmon smolt and rainbow trout, and Krüger Kaldnes, supplier of RAS technology, 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 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.

National Institute of Aqua Resources, DTU Aqua
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway (coordinator)
Ghent University, Belgium
Lerøy Seafood AS, Norway
Krüger Kaldnes AS, Norway

The project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 BlueBio Cofund.

Research area: Aquaculture

Effective start/end date01/05/202030/08/2023


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