Chilean researcher Claudia Ibacache. (Photo: Universidad de Valparaiso)
Antibiotics substitute developed for salmon farming
Friday, December 13, 2013, 03:10 (GMT + 9)
A young Chilean researcher was awarded a prize by a prestigious US institution for her research aimed at developing technology to obtain antibiotics substitute for farmed salmon.
The new technological solution is environmentally friendly. Its goal is to improve productivity in salmon farming through the use of a food additive with an active compound derived from indigenous marine bacteria off the coast of Valparaíso Region.
Due to her innovative research, co-founder of the company Micro Marine Biotech and researcher at the University of Valparaiso, Claudia Ibacache, received an award from MIT Technology Review, a magazine from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), reported Valparaiso University.
"One of the main threats faced by aquaculture, locally and globally, is the economic loss caused by infections produced by microorganisms," explains the researcher.
The technological solution presented aims to improve salmon farming industry productivity with less use of antibiotics by using a food additive that does not create resistance, is non-toxic to farmed fish cultivation and does not harm the environment.
"In aquaculture tetracycline is even more widely used. Also those of quinolone type, which pose a high risk because these two types of antibiotics are used in human health. Therefore, it is important to control these diseases through other mechanism," Ibacache added.
The active ingredient developed "can be properly incorporated into fish feed manufacture production process," the researcher went on to say.
As she explains, "there are compounds of natural origin with the ability by inhibiting virulence mechanisms to fight and avoid one of the major problems threatening both human and animal health: bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics."
In addition, the additive is incorporated during the preparation of food, and does not require a modification of the production process.
The goal of the company Micro Marine Biotech is, in a first step, to be able to cover 10 per cent of the salmon food market nationwide.
Ibacache is one of the five Chilean scientists that were recognized by researchers, investors and entrepreneurs who are internationally renowned.
The scientist has specialised in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Valparaíso and is attending a PhD course at the Autonomous University of Madrid.
By Analia Murias