Bioremediation in Aquaculture
Biotechnology Benefiting Aquaculture
Aquaculture is an ancient agricultural practice. Much as with terrestrial agriculture there are many different approaches. Some work and some do not. The range of production paradigms is huge and what works in one place may not work consistently from crop to crop or not work at all elsewhere, etc. It is complicated. For most of the time little attention has been paid to the role of the scientific method in ensuring consistency. This is slowly changing with some cultural systems adapting science-based approaches while others lag behind.
Everybody nowadays has heard about PCR, an acronym for polymerase chain reaction. This is a biotechnological tool that allows one to detect very small quantities of genetic material. This in turn results in the ability to determine the presence of potential pathogens well before they produce disease. The real challenge lies not in the technology but in understanding how best to use it. This is where the industry falls far short. Unfortunately, this is also true of most aspects of biotechnology that have applications in aquaculture.
Until recently the true extent of the microbiome was not appreciated. We vastly underestimated the complexity and extent of it. We are only in the very early stages of understanding what is going on. Many would have you believe that we can manipulate this complex assemblage of microorganisms to optimize the production environment. This is not the case. In fact for aquatic animals like shrimp it is highly unlikely that we will ever be able to reproducibly tweak the microbial flora to gain what many would have us believe is the optimal outcome. Outdoor production systems with huge numbers of animals in small bodies of water is not consistent with this.
Perhaps one of the greatest short term success stories in recent years has been the ability to add certain species of bacteria to these bodies of water and bring about changes in the environment that are consistent with improved animal health. Most non-microbiologists cannot appreciate the complexity of bacteria. They think of them as simple single celled organisms, some of which are bad and some of which are good. The truth is that for the most part, bacteria are highly evolved organisms that live in complex assemblages.
Using the ability of one very large and diverse genera of gram-positive bacteria, the Bacillus genus, and a science-based approach towards their application, Aquaintech Inc. has generated a tool that has proven applicability in improving the quality of the production environment. Through the production of a wide array of powerful enzymes, our proprietary strains degrade organic matter converting it into bacterial biomass and break down a number of metabolites the presence of which at high enough levels is detrimental to optimal productivity. These abilities have resulted in a science-based tool that is an important element of production.