Investigating the use of nanobubble technology in aquaculture
Small and medium-size aquaculture farms in Asia struggle to reduce infectious diseases on their farms. In some cases, the use of antimicrobials to control bacterial diseases has been abused, and antimicrobial resistance associated with aquaculture practices has been documented. Finding cost-effective alternatives to using antimicrobials is essential for ensuring the sustainability of small farms in developing countries.
Nanobubble technology — nanoscopic gaseous (typically air) cavities in aqueous solutions that have the ability to change the normal characteristics of water — has transformed wastewater treatment industries around the world. Research into new applications for nanobubbles suggests that many industries, including aquaculture, could benefit from this innovative, non-chemical disinfection technology. This project proposes to assess whether nanobubble technology can reduce pathogens on a farm during a disease outbreak; improve the efficacy of vaccines; reduce the level of antibiotics in the aquatic environment during therapeutic treatments; and improve the growth rate of fish and shrimp in Asia.
A series of laboratory and field experiments on fresh and saltwater aquatic animal pathogens will be conducted in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Vietnam to determine the effect of nanobubble technology on different types of aquaculture systems. The impact of exposure to nanobubbles on the health and growth of fish and shrimp will be assessed, as well as the potential for the technology to reduce the level of antimicrobials detected in water after metaphylactic treatments. This project has the potential to significantly reduce the use of antimicrobials in aquaculture and it will provide farmers with a tool to reduce exposure to pathogens on farms, improve vaccine efficacy, enhance growth without the use of antimicrobials, and bind and remove antimicrobials that leach out of medicated feed during therapeutic treatments.