New aquaculture alliance with Aqua Pharma Group & eFishery

Aquaculture disease management and dynamic dosing expert Aqua Pharma are joining forces with microbial fingerprinting experts KYTOS to develop SEATRU™ – a unique new service platform offering shrimp farmers worldwide effective microbial control through precise dosing recommendations.
The initiative is set to start later this month (June 2022) with a two-year research project based in Indonesia with local partner eFishery, the world’s largest aquaculture tech start-up.

Our priority at Aqua Pharma is to provide disease prevention and control systems to the aquaculture industry with fish and shrimp welfare at the forefront. We are delighted to have teamed up with KYTOS to further develop SEATRU™ – a tool which will use the power of KYTOS technology to read the aquaculture microbiome of farms, anticipating and reducing disease thanks to individually tailored and precise dosing of eco-friendly health management solutions.

Markus Wu, Head of Office Indonesia for Solvay and Aqua Pharma at Aqua Pharma Group

Shrimp farmers are currently hampered by a lack of reliable data on water quality and animal health, resulting in frequent unpredictable disease outbreaks. SEATRU™ will allow farmers to adopt a preventative management approach, using best-in-class products like Aqualisan® to increase production, sustainability and profitability.

Markus Wu (Aqua Pharma) Priyandaru Agung (eFishery), Marc Indigne (COO, Kytos)

KYTOS specializes in analysing data of individual microbial cells and leverages that big data to create a holistic view of the health situation of aquaculture systems. Our expertise in microbial fingerprinting technology is a perfect fit with our joint vision of unlocking sustainable aquaculture through precision farming. Together our work on the SEATRU™ concept is transforming aquaculture by researching and developing advanced technologies in microbial monitoring, animal gut health, disinfectant treatments and artificial intelligence to create stable water conditions and ensure increased performance.

Ruben Props, co-founder and CEO at KYTOS

According to WWF*, over 55% of the shrimp consumed worldwide is farmed, with a market growth of 8% over the past decade. The annual loss to the shrimp industry as a result of disease is estimated at $6 billion per year. The research project is due to run from June 2022 until mid-2024, after which commercial scaling will follow.

Our main objective is to provide shrimp farmers in Indonesia with peace of mind and the tools to produce a stable performance and improved harvests throughout the year. The SEATRU™ concept brings that stability and potential for growth to farmers. Disease prevention is the number one challenge facing shrimp aquaculture today. With disease able to completely wipe out a pond in five days the sector urgently needs effective preventative methods. Innovative new pond reading technologies combined with eco-friendly products like Aqualisan® for shrimp pond management have huge potential to improve the welfare of the shrimp and the profitability of the sector.

Gibran Huzaifah, CEO of eFishery

ABOUT AQUA PHARMA GROUP

Backed by parent companies Solvay, the 10B EUR global leader in sustainable materials and solutions, and Aquatiq, a Norwegian leader in food safety, Aqua Pharma Group develops and delivers disease prevention and control systems for the aquaculture industry. Its concepts and innovations ensure minimal environmental impact and maximum animal welfare and contribute to the successful scaling of sustainably managed fish and shrimp to meet the global growing demand for healthy proteins

https://aqua-pharma.com/
hanne.mertens@aqua-pharma.com

ABOUT KYTOS

KYTOS is a microbiome technology company developing microbiome management solutions at the frontier of technological innovation. Originating at the Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) at Ghent University, it builds on decades of world-leading expertise in the management of microbial communities. KYTOS transforms its partners into expert microbiome health stewards by empowering them with a unique blend of data science, technology, and microbial ecology insights.

ruben@kytos.be

ABOUT eFishery

eFishery believes that aquaculture is the future. Using technological advancements it is constructing an end-to-end value chain for fish and shrimp farming businesses, resulting in an integrated, sustainable ecosystem resilient enough to strengthen global food security for the future. eFishery aims to ensure aquaculture provides the world with its main source of animal protein, one not only rich in nutrients but accessible to everyone.

https://efishery.com/en/

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.