The Strategy of Intelligent Specialization aka RIS3 for Galicia is prioritizing the modernization of aquaculture to target new products and services via new innovative biotech applications. Needless to say, that Galicia is the leading aquaculture producer in Spain with nearly 90% of the country’s production.
Expertise and innovation are key to the progress in this type of new upcoming industry. These two features are encapsulated by the aquaculture and biotech group of USC, Compostela, Spain bringing 4 decades of experience to the table and the company QualDIMUS of UVigo, the latter one, a newcomer, deeply rooted into the Faculty of Animal Ecology and Biology of the University at Vigo, Spain.
Four decades of experience at USC
It was 4 decades ago that the Aquaculture and Biotech research team was born at the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology of USC. At this very right moment, biotech and micro-algae research kickstarted in Spain, becoming of the most remarkable research teams worldwide, focused on research about application of micro-algae, in rivers and oceans. This team has been working non-stop ever since, so as to improve micro-algae farming, which are the foundation of the development of the Atlantic oysters, mussels, turbot-halibutfarming.
For nearly a decade, These micro-algae have increased their market value due to interest in biodiesel. “Engineers have assured us that micro-algae are a way better source of biodiesel than vegetable oils”, says researcher Ana María Otero.
The researchers’ expertise, at USC, has also been considered by the Byefouling European Project. This project seeks solutions like these and environmentally friendly, to bio-incrustation, which is likewise generating waste worth millions in cleaning and removal.
The team has been involved throughly in integrated multitrophic aquaculture and reducing significantly environmental impact at aqua-cultural facilities. There are few Spanish and International companies, which offer consulting services for farming, species selection, etc.
The new kid on the block regarding applied biotech and aquaculture in Galicia turns out to be QualDIMUS, the winning project at Concurso de Preincubadoras Campus do Mar (Sea Pre-Incubators Contest) and first award at the Concurso de Ideas Empresariales Innovadoras de la Real Academia Gallega de Ciencias (Innovative Entrepreneurship Ideas Contest at The Royal Academy of Sciences in Galicia)
QualDIMUS’s research field is sustainable fish and seafood farming and aiming at “disease prevention, control and consulting for the development of functional fish farming feed”, explains one of the developers.
QualDIMUS, originally, an IT and Technology based-company, has been offering a consulting and diagnostics service to fish farms to prevent new disease outbreaks, which have decimated populations of farmed fish and have a microbiological cause.