Aquaculture is a booming national industry. The total turnover in Spain alone stands at nearly 500 million euros, where Andalusia with 55 million euros accounts for 11%
The AQUAFLY project, based on the Bionaturis FLYLIFE production system, will be deployed in collaboration with the Department of Chemical Engineering, Food Technology and Environmental Sciences, at the Science Faculty of Cadiz University; and CTAQUA (Andalusian Aquaculture Technological Centre Foundation).
Ana de las Heras from Bionaturis, who holds a PhD in Veterinary Science, is the Project leader, an initiative that will last 3 years and is co-funded by Corporación Tecnológica de Andalucía (CTA).
Jerez de la Frontera, 21 December 2012. Bionaturis, a biotechnological company listing on the Spanish Alternative Investment Market (MAB), has embarked on the Aquafly project in collaboration with the Department of Chemical Engineering, Food Technology and Environmental Sciences, at the Science Faculty of Cadiz University; and CTAQUA (Andalusian Aquaculture Technological Centre Foundation). The project aims to research more efficient vaccination alternatives for farmed fish..
Oral vaccines, a breakthrough for the sector
The idea for the project emerged from the Bionaturis internal aquaculture R&D team after analysing the sector’s needs in the meetings recently held between international and national producers and veterinary companies. The technical goal is to design and develop new oral therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines, based on the cutting-edge FLYLIFE production system (using insect larva as bioreactors to produce biological drugs), which can be used more safety and efficiently to protect against major diseases that currently affect aquaculture. The research programme, which will run for three years, is led by Ana de las Heras, a Bionaturis scientific researcher with a PhD in Veterinary Sciences. This project is being cofunded by Corporación Tecnológica de Andalucía (CTA).
Importance of the industry: Aquaculture in Spain currently generates nearly 500 million euros and Andalusia accounts for 11% of the aforementioned total as it generates 55 million euros of revenue in the sector.
However, the greater density of livestock in the farms as the result of this intensification has led to a greater concentration of pathogens and the ensuing appearance of diseases in the fish. Experts estimate loss of 20% of the aquaculture production due to the impact of diseases. The Aquafly project will work with some of these devastating diseases . “Thanks to our Flylife technological platform,” stressed Ana de las Heras, “we will develop vaccines and other types of treatment to be administered orally in a safe and efficient way for some of the main pathogens that currently affect aquaculture”. It will be a huge step forward for this sector as “so far injections have been the only way that has proven to be really effective , but they are greatly limited due to the cost and handling. Not just the stress generated by handling but also the size of the fish limit the use of vaccines by injection. “. This project, aimed at the most important pathogens and species in Andalusia, , positions Bionaturis as a benchmark in the fish vaccine research and development, where exponential growth is forecasted for coming years.