Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

Bioprocessing of Microbial Biomass: Enabling Sustainable Zero-Discharge Seafood Production

Presented by David E. Brune - Professor of Bioprocess and Bioenergy Engineering, Division of Food Sciences and Bioengineering, University of Missouri at Columbia

April 02, 2015

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U.S. marine shrimp consumption amounts to 1.4 billion lbs/yr. The bulk (86%) of U.S. consumption is imported from Asian suppliers, representing a U.S. deficit cash-flow of nearly $3.2 billion/yr. Asian countries produce over 10 billion lbs/yr of marine shrimp, nearly all grown in ponds fed diets enriched with 5-10% marine fish meal. These farms consume 28% of global fish meal production. This practice is depleting global marine forage fish stocks and driving the price of fish meal to record highs. Furthermore, wastewater discharge from shrimp production ponds in China is 10 times greater than all other industrial waste combined. This unsustainable feeding of marine protein and waste discharge must be replaced with improved technology. In addition, it is critical that technology be made available to U.S. farmers supporting a profit driven U.S. aquaculture industry. Recent University of Missouri research and extension efforts have been directed at development and demonstration of higher-value marine shrimp production in an environmentally friendly zero-discharge system. This effort is based on thirty years of PI experience with development and demonstration of the Partitioned Aquaculture System (PAS), a technique used to increase pond photosynthesis by use of low-speed paddlewheels. The PAS, or modified versions of the PAS referred to as "Split-Ponds," are being installed across the south as the preferred method of catfish culture. These systems are capable of increasing pond fish carrying capacity from 4,000 to nearly 20,000 kg/ha with zero discharge of water to the environment. The key enabling technology, discussed in this presentation, is co-culture of filter-feeding aquatic organisms converting marine algal and bacterial biomass used to maintain zero-discharge water quality into valuable aquatic animal feeds and biofuel co-products.

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