Applied research in biotechnology to improve the competitiveness of the fish chain in Colombia

Author(s): Carlos Ocampo-Lˇpez

 In developing countries like Colombia, most of the food used in the different stages of fish farming production is imported. These foods have a high ecological footprint since they include phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen salts, as well as medicines for disease control, causing strong impacts to water sources through eutrophication processes. Additionally, the associated costs of these inputs represent between 50-60% of the total production costs for fish farmers. To improve the competitiveness of the fish chain in Colombia, and especially Antioquia, a biotechnological process to produce Spirulina microalgae was designed and implemented, as a raw material for feeding fish, creating a new industry. The process developed a prototype that reduces operating costs using solar energy and a technology that allows the use of microalgae as a sustainable food source. The proposed value of technology involves a compact system, low implementation costs of each production system, ease of operation and maintenance, as well as few hours of dedication per day to the process. To empower communities and achieve economic growth based on green chemistry, a virtual training program in biotechnology is simultaneously being developed, which includes courses in bioprocesses, environmental biotechnology, alternative energy, and bio-entrepreneurship. With this contribution, the academy integrates with farmers to strengthen the social economy and give sustainability to the project in the long term.

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