IMPCON - IMProved quality of cultured fish for human CONsumption

International collaboration project between São Paulo and Denmark

In Denmark and Brazil close to 50% of the adult population suffers from medium or severe overweight and welfare diseases are increasing, but Brazil also has 10 mio people suffering from malnutrition. A change in dietary habits to more protein-rich food might reduce these health issues. Fish are a valuable protein source, but provide also vital fatty acids and minerals. Fish from natural waters can no longer meet the demand for fish products, and farming now make up 50% of the global fish demand. However, fish production in freshwater faces several challenges: intensive fish breeding enhances the risk of diseases by bacteria, virus and parasites; several fish infections have zoonotic potential and may affect human health; microbes produce off-flavours that penetrate the fish and make them unattractive; dense fish stocks may promote growth of fish-killing toxic microbes by eutrophication.

In IMPCON we challenge these barriers to improve aquaculture production in hydroelectric reservoirs in São Paulo and recirculated pond systems in Denmark. Specifically we will (a) detect microorganisms and parasites with zoonotic potential in fish breeding systems; (b) improve fish health by enhancing their resistance to diseases (bacteria, virus and parasites), using bioactive components from the bio-ethanol production in Brazil; (c) improve the water quality to minimize the risk of toxin and parasite occurrence; and (d) detect off-flavour producing microbes and develop procedures for their reduction. The IMPCON project ensures that low-value products (fish feed) are converted to healthy food by sustainable aquaculture production and that waste products from the bioethanol production in Brazil are reused as valuable bioactive substances.

Duration: from April 1 2014 to December 31 2017