Technology to Increase Production of High-Quality Seafood Licensed to Maryland Sustainable Mariculture, LLC
Models Future Opportunities Among USM Research Partners
Adelphi, Md. (July 19, 2010) - University System of Maryland (USM)
scientists have developed an environmentally sustainable and cost-efficient system
to increase the world's supply of high-quality seafood. The new technology has
formed the basis of a licensing agreement to Maryland Sustainable Mariculture (MSM)
LLC, a biotechnology start-up company in Baltimore.
The technology, known as the
Recirculating Marine Aquaculture System, was developed at the former University
of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI) and its Center of Marine Biotechnology
(COMB) by then-COMB Director Yonathan Zohar, Ph.D. , and his team. Zohar is now
chair of the newly formed Department of Marine Biotechnology at the University
of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
"As our oceans run out of fish, the world is
in dire need of a consistent supply of high-quality seafood," Zohar said. "The
development of this technology marks the culmination of a multi-disciplinary
effort, spanning a decade, to develop the next wave of aquaculture technology
that produces healthy and clean seafood while having no adverse effect on the
marine or coastal environments."
Under the direction of Zohar and
former UMBI Director of Technology Transfer Jon Gottlieb, M.B.A., Ph.D., several
USM scientists - Harold Schreier, Ph.D., Kevin Sowers, Ph.D., Allen R. Place,
Ph.D., Yossi Tal, Ph.D., and Keiko Saito, Ph.D. - developed during the past
decade a new generation marine aquaculture system. The system is designed to solve
many environmental and biological concerns of current practices.
The breakthrough relies on a recirculating
marine aquaculture technology that is environmentally sustainable and protects
species from disease. The system's core uses filtration units that incorporate
naturally occurring microorganisms to clean the tank water using recurring
processes already found in oceans. A byproduct of the manner in which the
microbes remove waste products is methane, which is captured for use as a
supplemental energy source.
The technology enables a marine aquaculture
facility to be located in urban or rural locations or next to airports or
markets, thus reducing the carbon footprint of seafood production.
result, clean and healthy fish can be made available wherever there is a
demand," Gottlieb said.
As part of a reorganization by the
governing University System of Maryland Board of Regents that aligns UMBI
centers with other USM institutions to increase technology transfer from
research discoveries, the regents have formed a new center, the Institute of
Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET). IMET, a partnership of three USM
research institutions with strengths in environmental and life sciences, will
expand on the former COMB's assets.
UMBC will collaborate with the
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the University of
Maryland, Baltimore to advance discovery and technology commercialization in
marine and environmental fields. IMET will be based in downtown Baltimore
at the former COMB facility.
Unlike the current net-pen
aquaculture practices, the USM technology enables the farming of any species of
marine fish. It also provides optimal farming conditions that result in faster
growth of the fish to market size. The technology was successfully tested at
the former COMB facility for the production of the high-value Mediterranean
fish seabream (orata) and seabass (bronzini).
Contact: Mike Lurie