Unlocking Microalgae Management in Shrimp Aquaculture

An Important Feed Source for the Aquaculture Industry

Microalgae are at the basis of all aquatic food chains, including those of the aquaculture industry. They are used as a feed product in many farming systems, including several growth stages of crustaceans, bivalve mollusks and fish species. They also provide an indirect feed source by serving as feed for zooplankton such as rotifers, Artemia and copepods, which are subsequently used as live feeds for the reared animals. But even without external dosing, they naturally occur as a part of the phytoplankton of any pond, and are an important bacterial control method (so-called “green water” farming).

Algal species with high aquaculture relevance included in the KYTOS toolbox: Chaetoceros1, Tetraselmis2, Isochrysis3, Thalassiosira4, filamentous cyanobacteria5 and other cyanobacteria5 (cells shown at different scales).

Impact of Microalgae on Farm/Hatchery Management

To properly manage algae populations and to accurately predict the risk of an outbreak of toxin-producing algae, it is essential that farmers have insights in the algae health situation in the water and gut of the animals.

Microalgae can cause positive effects during the cultivation:
  • Production of oxygen;
  • Limiting eutrophication;
  • Metabolizing nitrogenous waste products
  • Production of bioactive compounds that control the bacterial community.
Microalgae can cause negative effects during the cultivation:
  • Ideal algae growth conditions can cause rapid algae blooms and crashes;
  • Algae species composition during blooms can change rapidly over time (often seen by farmers as different pond colors);
  • Blue green algae (cyanobacteria) may produce toxins which are lethal to the shrimp.

Through these actions they control the bacterial community and this has been shown to lower disease incidence and to increase the stability of microbial system. However, some microalgae, often referred to as blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), produce toxins which can harm the cultivated organisms. In addition to toxicity problems, some species of blue-green algae can produce odorous compounds which can cause off-flavors of the cultivated organisms.

Where Can KYTOS Help?

Our standard service offering already includes exact quantification of algal abundances. We are happy to announce that over the last 6 months, our KYTOS toolbox has been further expanded with several algae-specific algorithms to empower farmers to make more informed management decisions.

Trophic index

The new KYTOS trophic index helps farmers to quantify the balance between heterotrophs (heterotrophic bacteria) and autotrophs (microalgae) in their system. This allows farmers to evaluate whether their intended management is effective (e.g. whether green water systems are dominated by autotrophs), to compare the autotroph/heterotroph balance across ponds, and to detect blooms/crashes at an early stage. See below for a commercial shrimp grow-out case on how we can use this indicator to examine our algae management performance:

  1. Two ponds on the same farm can have drastically different farming regimes (heterotroph / autotroph)
  2. These regimes are unknown to the farmer!
  3. The unstable pond experiences frequent blooms and crashes during the grow-out
  4. These blooms/crashes are often unknown to the farmer!
  5. Stable ponds go through a mixotrophic/autotrophic phase during the first 30 days
Two examples of different dynamics in trophic state of open air shrimp ponds on the same farm. Left: Unstable pond; note the frequent algae blooms and crashes throughout the cultivation. Right: Stable pond with much less abrupt changes in trophic state after the first 30 days. Legend for the index is shown on the right.
Taxonomic classification

The KYTOS toolbox has now also been updated with precise algorithms to detect and quantify the abundance of some of the most important microalgae in the aquaculture industry, including several cyanobacteria, Tetraselmis, Isochrysis, Chaetoceros and Thalassiosira. Many algal species have positive effects on the cultivation performance, while others can have disastrous effects. Therefore it is essential that farmers have insights into which algae are present in their system. For our Mediterranean enthusiasts, our algorithms will soon be expanded to include Chlorella and Nannochloropsis.

So how good are our algorithms today? See for yourself:

Microalgae population KytoFlow prediction accuracy (%)
Filamentous cyanobacteria 99.3
Other cyanobacteria 99.1
Tetraselmis 95.6
Isochrysis 97.1
Chaetoceros 96.5
Thalassiosira 98.7

Putting this into practice, we can accurately identify and forecast the blooms of these important algae groups. Some key observations from one of our commercial trials:

  1. Algae blooms and crashes of both harmful and beneficial algae happen frequently during a cultivation (~every 10 days)
  2. Did you notice the sudden loss of the important Thalassiosira diatom population? This happened during early farm management, and resulted in the complete loss of this population during the cultivation
  3. Chaetoceros appears to be the most robust diatom in the ponds
  4. Filamentous cyanobacteria make up only a small part of all the cyanobacteria, but can be the most harmful to the shrimp!
Algae identification in Shrimp grow-out pond rearing systems, both in terms of taxonomic identity and risk (beneficial/harmful).
Commercial service

Are you intrigued by our trophic index and algae identification algorithms? Looking for something else? Contact us now

1 Li Y, Boonprakob A, Gaonkar CC, Kooistra WHCF, Lange CB, Hernaândez-Becerril D, Chen Z, Moestrup Ø, Lundholm N. 2017. Diversity in the globally distributed diatom genus chaetoceros (bacillariophyceae): Three new species from warm-Temperate waters. PLoS One 12:1–38.
2 Dutertre M, Barillé L, Haure J, Cognie B. 2007. Functional responses associated with pallial organ variations in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg, 1793). J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 352:139–151.
3 Liu Q, Pang T, Li L, Liu J, Lin W. 2014. Isochrysis sp. IOAC724S, a newly isolated, lipid-enriched, marine microalga for lipid production, and optimized cultivation conditions. Biomass and Bioenergy 60:32–40.
4 Egas C, Henríquez-Castillo C, Delherbe N, Molina E, Dos Santos AL, Lavin P, De La Iglesia R, Vaulot D, Trefault N. 2017. Short timescale dynamics of phytoplankton in Fildes Bay, Antarctica. Antarct Sci 29:217–228.
5 Ughy B, Nagy CI, Kós PB. 2015. Biomedical potential of cyanobacteria and algae. Acta Biol Szeged 59:203–224.

KYTOS & Can Tho University to Formalize Collaboration

📣 KYTOS and the College of Aquaculture and Fisheries of CAN THO UNIVERSITY (CTU) to collaborate on education, research and commercial activities in Vietnam 📣

Last Friday was a truly exciting moment – the official partnership between KYTOS, a spin-off company from Ghent University, and the College of Aquaculture and Fisheries of Can Tho University. This step solidifies a partnership that builds upon the successful collaboration between Ghent University and CAN THO UNIVERSITY.

Under this collaboration KYTOS and CTU will:
☁️ Grant access to the KYTOS technology platform to University researchers.
🧪 Exchange samples and data to enhance research and innovation
🙋 Offer internships to aquaculture students to enhance their microbiome knowledge and skillsets
📈 Collaborate on joint research and development proposals

🥂 We are grateful to embark on this journey with purpose and enthusiasm, to realize new breakthroughs in science, innovation, and cooperation.


KYTOS and FreshStudio initiate collaboration in Vietnam!

Kytos has embarked on an exciting new venture in the field of horticulture in Vietnam. We have joined with Fresh Studio® to delve into the fascinating world of microbiomes in lettuce cultivation using Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) systems. 🥬💦

This collaborative effort will enable Fresh Studio® and KYTOS to gain a precise and comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationship between the microbiome and crop health, leading to the development of microbiome-based management recommendations. 🔬 🌿

The utilization of digital microbiome management solutions and advanced platforms holds great promise for the future of sustainable farming practices. 🌱🌍

🔥The future of eco-friendly and productive horticulture is here!

KYTOS and RASLab enter into commercial collaboration

The microbial health of the rearing water and biofilter of Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) is crucial for maintaining optimal water quality for land-based fish farms. Ammonia, a toxic component for fish, is metabolized by specialized organisms called Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria and Archaea (AOB/AOA), while organic substrates are degraded by heterotrophic bacteria. The production of toxic hydrogen sulfide, as well as off flavour compounds such as geosmin, have been traced back to a microbial origin. As a result, the close interaction of the rearing water with the fish requires RAS operators to now get a firm grip on the microbial health of their systems.

Facilitation of KYTOS services in Norway’s RAS market

KYTOS and RASLab have begun collaborating to offer commercial services to manage and optimize the microbial health and performance of RAS systems. KYTOS offers a unique quantitative overview of the microbiome in the water and biofilter through their RASCheck/RASScreen/RASManage service programs that compliment RASLab’s RASseq services where next generation sequencing identifies all of the bacteria in the biofilter.

By undertaking these combined analyses, it becomes possible to understand how management decisions affect the biofilter in terms of performance and resilience as well as the total microbial environment of the RAS system. Using this information, bespoke services can be offered for optimizing system and fish performance. Starting this August, RASLab customers can benefit from these combined.

Our RASseq services are complemented by the KYTOS toolbox. This collaboration fits in nicely with our provisions of microbial and lab support services to the industry and our research customers and is yet another part of how we drive for “innovating the future of aquaculture.

Mark Powell, CEO of RASLab

Comprehensive Microbial Health Assessments for RAS management

Both companies have their specialization in state-of-the-art microbiome technologies and RAS. KYTOS uses big data and artificial intelligence to reduce aquaculture’s unpredictability by creating practical tools that help make informed management decisions. Its services leverage flow cytometry, which is the most performant single-cell technology available today.

With RASLab, we have identified a great commercial and R&D synergy for our RAS services. This collaboration aids us in fulfilling our core mission of making microbiome management tools smarter and more accessible to the industry.

Ruben Props, co-founder and CEO of KYTOS

Complementary to KYTOS’s functional approach, RASLab’s RASseq service targets the genetic information of the microbiome to obtain detailed information about the bacterial community. Previous work has already shown significant differences in nitrifier communities between RAS systems operating under different salinities.

RASLab’s unique and modular infrastructure enables the development and testing of new microbial health indicators.  With 12 independent small scale RAS systems and a stock of 3 (fully sequenced) biofilter options (freshwater, brackish water and full seawater) RASLab can offer studies of the microbial environment from 5 to 30 °C for any norwegian aquaculture species.  Combining with KYTOS and RASlab’s RAS and Lab services, this powerful combination of microbiological tools for monitoring both fish health and RAS system performance will enable both companies to test new microbial health indicators for RAS.

A Full Service for RAS Farmers and Technology Providers

KYTOS will work closely with RASLab to service farm customers via routine full service programs, which means that bespoke sampling programs will be implemented, and all sampling materials and sample logistics are arranged. The KytoVial sampling system enables biosecure microbiome sampling of the farm. The KYTOS A.I. engine will process the microbiome data to provide clients with rapid results of up to 10 microbiome health indicators. Digital reports are accessible online and via its secure KytoApp mobile application. Ongoing contract research at RASLab being executed will also be available to be supported by KYTOS technology.  It is now possible for customers to choose to use the KYTOS technology for monitoring the microbial environments of the fish and RAS systems during research activity that is being carried out at RASLab.

New substrate health assessments!

🌱 Attention all horticulture professionals! 🌱
🚀 Transform your crop yield with Kytos’ revolutionary technology. Our latest innovative method analyzes the microbiome on your plant roots, ensuring healthy crops from the start.
💰💵 We are working closely with Primalof, a leading hydroponic chicory grower, to test our latest method to extract microorganisms from chicory root peels and detect sick roots early on, saving you valuable time and money.
🌟👨‍🌾👩‍🌾 Partner with us today and experience the benefits of our groundbreaking technology, taking your horticulture process to the next level.

#Kytos #Horticulture #Microbiome #Innovation #CropYield #Revolutionize

Ninh Hoa customer visits!

A great visit to our customers in Ninh Hoa, Vietnam. We are proud to support our customers in monitoring microbiome health from the beginning of the crop cycle to prevent diseases.

KYTOS is your local partner to help you make informed microbiome management decisions. Our service programs offer you:

🧪 Biosecure sampling using KytoVials
🏠 Local hub for rapid sample processing
☁️ Digital reporting workflow (mobile/web)
🕒 Timely results
📈 Service programs suitable for any farm or hatchery
🙋 Local support team to educate and train our clients

Join us in our mission to make microbiome management 🧠smarter, ✅easier, and 📱accessible.