Advanced biotechnology for intensive – freshwater aquaculture wastewater reuse 

Project Website not yet established

henning sorum 

Coordinator: Prof Henning Sørum

Projects  Partner and Institution:
Prof Jana Pickova, Swediah University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Dr Corina Moga, DFR Systems SLR, Romania
Prof Ioan Ardelean, Romanian Academy, Romania
Crăciun Nicolai, University of Bucharest, Romania
Dr Fiona Walsh, Maynooth University, Ireland
Prof Marko Virta, University of Helsinki, Finland
Prof Thomas Berendonk, Technishce Universitat Dresden, Germany 

Key words:
biotechnology, antimicrobial resistance, microbiome, aquaculture, water

The ABAWARE project has been founded on a combination of three independent research areas to develop and improve solutions for sustainable freshwater aquaculture by recirculation aquatic systems so-called RAS. The RAS-based aquaculture is developing with high speed in several countries and has a large potential in producing aquaculture products close to the markets since the technology makes it possible to perform industrial aquaculture without the need of large resources of clean water. However, the RAS systems are dependent on biofilters that can remove the organic waste in the form of fish faeces and uneaten feed from the water of the aquaculture systems. The pilot period of RAS aquaculture has resulted in farming facilities that are commercial sound for different fish species. However, the RAS technologies are still not mature and stable mostly because the biofilters are producing relatively large amounts of organic sediments that often are considered waste products. Different solutions for making the organic sediments from the RAS aquaculture to higher quality products like feed or fertilizers have been suggested. 

The ABAWARE project is using experience from the biological handling of human sewage in removing nutrients and other components before returning the sewage water to the water recipients. In addition, the partners of ABAWARE are experts in analysis and monitoring of antibiotic resistance development in bacteria in human and animal medicine and in the environment including the sewage from human societies. The consortium of Partners in ABAWARE is focused on developing aquaculture facilities that produce high quality food products without the need of using antibiotics to control disease in the farmed fish. The novel overlap of the three main research areas in ABAWARE is kept together through the recognition of the importance of the wide microbial activities involved in the RAS systems. Through handling of the organic contents in the water with fish via the biofilter and through upgrading the organic sediments from the RAS system and not at least through realizing the importance of the microbiota of the RAS system in keeping the fish healthy as a resource for high quality food for human consumption, it is possible to make a sustainable biological industry for the future.

The ABAWARE project has been working coordinated in identifying microorganisms that can improve the biofilters of aquaculture RAS systems. These microorganisms are bacteria, fungus and microalgae but also some plant species are tested. Various existing RAS facilities for salmonid cold-water species and warm water species as African catfish are used as resources for identifying important microorganisms. However, other sources like wood eating insects are also used for identifying optimal organisms. There is a close collaboration between research laboratories, research facilities for fish and commercial systems for human sewage handling. At the end of ABAWARE various microorganisms are isolated and ready to be introduced to lab-scale and prototypes of commercial systems that can handle both water and sediments from RAS systems for freshwater fish aquaculture.

Project structure
WP 1. A. Research concerning microbiota use as basis for selection of the new technology for wastewater treatment in recirculating aquaculture systems.
WP 1 B. Microbiota & antibiotic resistance identification in freshwater aquaculture systems.
WP 2. Design and realization of laboratory installation for wastewater treatment with microbial consortia previously selected.
WP 3. Laboratory testing and analysis.
WP 4. On site testing and analysis (including microbiota & antibiotic resistance identification in freshwater aquaculture systems post-technology implementation and comparison to non-aquaculture freshwater ecosystems previously sampled).

In relation to Challenge-1, Subtopic-1-a, issues i and iii the ABAWARE have conceived and will test an innovative RAS technology for warm-freshwater aquaculture. The approach rely on a novel method for water recirculation and thus will reduce the amount of fresh water needed for the intensive recirculated aquaculture systems. 95% of the total water volume will be reused in the system and only 5% of the total water volume will be discharged into freshwater ecosystems. Warm-water aquaculture recirculation technologies are popular as they are currently used to produce high quality fish products, employing heat of biogas. In relation to the Challenge-2, Sub-topic-2.d the ABAWARE will perform evaluation of the combined environmental risks associated with the accumulation of antibiotic resistance and chemical pollutants in the closed-loop RAS systems and compare this risks with corresponding risks arising from open/cage aquaculture. Obtained data will be used for further optimisation of our innovative solutions for RAS based aquaculture. In relation to the Challenge-2, Sub-topic-2.c the ABAWARE will perform evaluation and propose the management approaches for reducing impacts of the nitrogen reach suspended solids on eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems. As mentioned above at present SS extracted from RAS are dumped into environment, deposited in the waste landfills or burned in the waste incinerators. The ABAWARE will propose and evaluate innovative methods for bioconversion of the nutrient reach SS into the animal feed grade proteins and/or lipids of green biomass.

The aim of ABAWARE project is the increased efficiency and resilience of water use in aquaculture and minimisation of its negative impact on the environment and human health. The aim of the projects will be reached through achieving the following deliverables: 1. Development of advanced technology for intensive RAS with minimum costs (investment and operational) and negative environmental impact. Understanding and minimisation of the environmental risks from freshwater aquaculture to human health (environmental exposure from water uses and food).

References coordinator and  leaders of  each WP:
Coordinator: Prof Henning Sorum.
WP1: Prof Jana Pickova.
WP2: Dr Corina Moga.
WP3: Dr Ioan Ardelean.
WP4: Prof Marko Virta.
WP5: Dr Fiona Walsh. 

Main outputs:

  • Antti Karkman, Thi Thuy Do, Fiona Walsh, Marko Virta. Antibiotic resistance genes in wastewater. Trends in Microbiology 2017. 2017 Oct 1.
  • Popa R., Moga I.C., Rissdorfer M., Ilis M.L.G., Petrescu G., Crăciun N., Matache M.G., Covaliu C.I., Stoian G. (2017). Duckweed utilization for fresh water conservation (management) in recirculated aquaculture systems, International Journal of Conservation Science, 8(4), 715-722.
  • Mogа I.C., Popа R., Crăciun N., Аrdeleаn I., Petrescu G., Doroftei B., Voiceа I., Sorică C., Mаtаche M.G., Stoiаn G. (2017). Wаstewаter Treаtment Systems in Аquаculture, International Symposium ISB-INMA TEH, Agricultural and Mechanical Engineering, vol. 7, 813 – 822.
  • Muziasari, W., Pitkänen, L., Sørum, H., Stedtfeld, R.D., Tiedje, J.M. and Virta, M. (2017). The resistome of farmed fish feces contributes to the enrichment of antibiotic resistance genes in sediments below Baltic Sea fish farms. Frontiers in Microbiology 7: 2137.

More results on the project: Data and resources

Contact Point for  Communication/Dissemination activities: Dr Fiona Walsh

Contact Point for Open Data/Open Access activities: Dr Fiona Walsh

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published on 2017/03/23 10:00:00 GMT+1 last modified 2022-05-10T13:57:59+01:00