Pioneering Tech to Improve Artemia Production

Pioneering Tech to Improve Artemia Production INVE Aquaculture, Thailand. Photo: Danny Willems

INVE Aquaculture's latest technologies aim to further improve the production of Artemia cysts and maintain product quality, reports Bonnie Waycott.

Since its development from the Artemia Reference Center, a spinoff of Ghent University, Benchmark's advanced nutrition division INVE Aquaculture has been working with entrepreneurs, researchers and institutions worldwide to develop specialty products and drive successful innovation in aquaculture.

One fundamental part of the division's success is the commercialisation of Artemia cysts, which are well known as a primary feed for the larval stages of various shrimp and fish species. They are also vital for hatcheries to achieve robust juvenile production. In order to ensure quality and meet productivity and biosecurity standards, INVE Aquaculture uses a series of patented technologies to transform regular Artemia cysts into a product with additional features and characteristics. One such technology, SEP-Art, has been available for some time and works by providing a coating on the cysts, adding a new, unique feature to the shell and completely separating the nauplii from the shell with a set of passive magnets that do not require any input power. This results in the suspension of pure, clean, active nauplii with no shell material.

"Our expertise and knowledge on Artemia began more than 30 years ago when we developed, for the first time, the use of Artemia as live feed and the concept of bioencapsulation," said Alessandro Moretti, Segment Director Larval fish at INVE Aquaculture. "Artemia cyst production is crucial in today's aquaculture. Artemia is almost mandatory for both shrimp and fish production, and the production of post larvae or fish larvae correlates directly with the use of good quality Artemia as the first feeding."

Now, in addition to SEP-Art, INVE Aquaculture has announced two new lines to its set of Artemia technologies – SMArt and D-FENSE. Through their launch, the company's aim is to further improve the use of Artemia in larvae production and to play an even greater role in better hatchery performance.

Artemia is a natural product the potential of which in hatcheries depends on a wide array of factors such as storage, hatching techniques and conditions, human skill and critical environmental parameters. Although the hatching of small quantities of Artemia cysts is very simple, these factors need to be taken into consideration for the successful hatching of large quantities of cysts. Performance is likely to be variable and suboptimal when standard Artemia cysts are used, so applying specific technology on standard Artemia cysts has allowed INVE to develop products that are easier to handle, simplifying the Artemia protocols in hatcheries as some of these critical factors determining the potential of the product become less important to manage. At the same time, it also becomes possible for producers to optimise its use.

Taking Artemia to the Next Level

SMArt and D-FENSE were each developed with this in mind. Both are applied to the cysts and provide specific results on the hatching efficiency (dependence of light becomes redundant) and hatchery biosecurity (reduced bacterial growth during hatching). The technologies are stand-alone options but are also compatible -- one or more technologies can be applied simultaneously, generating synergistic benefits.

"One of the main concerns in achieving a consistent Artemia output is the cysts' sensitivity to external factors like storage, light and temperature," said Alessandro Moretti.

"SMArt is known as Sensitivity Modified Artemia. It allows Artemia cysts to hatch perfectly at suboptimal light conditions, avoiding decreased hatching performance due to lower light exposure. D-FENSE is a form of built-in protection for the best hatchery biosecurity. It's an additional process to the Artemia cysts and forms a specific coating that suppresses the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Vibrio sp during the hatching of the cysts. This results in better larval survival and reduced contamination risks."

Achieving a standardised, consistent Artemia output has a dramatic effect on hatchery management as it optimises the use of Artemia (live feed quality and quantity) and contributes to improved hatchery economics. Predictable Artemia production also directly affects larval production thanks to a consistent feeding protocol. With diseases one of the most frequent causes of culture collapses, biosecurity is also fundamental for all hatcheries and basic for larval rearing. Implementing correct biosecurity protocols are critical, as this directly impacts hatchery success and larval quality.

"The SEP-Art and SMArt Technologies are directly linked with consistency, because they guarantee the perfect separation and optimal hatching under suboptimal conditions of illumination respectively," he said.
"They allow for the standardisation of the hatching process. SEP-Art is also able to avoid the dangerous process of decapsulation. This makes Artemia production much safer for humans and for the environment. D-FENSE strongly reduces or even suppresses Vibrio development during the hatching process. Vibrio is considered one of the main causes of early larval mortalities or crashes."

As it's considered indispensable for the larviculture of marine fish and shrimp, Artemia is likely to remain a fundamental pillar for the growth of global aquaculture going forward. INVE Aquaculture's other key goal is to continue to make its use as simple as possible, while enhancing its intrinsic potential. Changing Artemia from a commodity into a product was the company's first challenge. Today, it's convinced that the future development of more new technologies will further allow Artemia's optimized use to improve. Meanwhile, feedback from customers has also been positive.

"Our customers are enthusiastic about SEP-Art and have also given D-FENSE a very warm welcome," Alessandro Moretti said. "Designed to meet customers' needs, we are sure that SMArt will also be very well received."

SEP-Art is available for most of INVE's Artemia brands. D-FENSE was released recently, while SMArt is still in the launching phase. The availability of D-FENSE and SMArt will be different per region, depending on the registrations.

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