Aquaculture technology and biosecurity

Ozone technology in fish farming process

Advanced aquaculture technology is enhancing biosecurity and fish welfare, writes Iain Brown, Industry Sales Engineer, Xylem UK and Ireland

Leading aquaculture experts from Xylem will deliver a keynote address at Aquaculture UK, taking place at Aviemore, Scotland, 14-15 May 2024. The presentation “Optimised energy consumption in land-based aquaculture – sustainability put to life!”, will be given by Asbjørn Husby, Senior Engineer Aquaculture & Water Treatment, and Ronny Haugland, Business Development Director, on day two.

With biological and microbial threats to fish farming on the increase, choosing the right solution to manage risk is vital. The latest treatment technology from Xylem can help fish farmers maintain stable conditions, with options for remote monitoring and control to provide data in real-time, allowing a rapid response when needed.

Many fish farmers are opting for a more sustainable approach with long-lasting chemical-free solutions like UV disinfection systems, which support vital eco-systems and prevent transmission of pathogenic parasites, bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Bespoke solutions available to the industry can optimise performance, lower environmental impact and safeguard a cleaner, healthier and more productive future for the aquaculture industry. Xylem is leading innovation in this area. Last year, Xylem completed its acquisition of Evoqua Water Technologies, a leader in mission-critical water treatment solutions and services. Evoqua has been working alongside the aquaculture industry for many years and offers a range of advanced aquaculture solutions strengthening Xylem’s application and solutions in the market.

In 2020, Xylem established a Norway-based Aquaculture Centre of Excellence that brings together a focused team of experts with decades of experience in delivering complex aquaculture projects to support European aquaculture customers produce healthy and robust fish stocks.

Additionally, Xylem has participated in several research programmes for the characterisation of emerging fish pathogens and their biophysical properties. It is currently partners in three different projects which speakers will highlight during their presentation at Aquaculture UK.

Evoqua PC Series portable ozone system

Evoqua PC Series portable ozone system

The presentation will also highlight a case study from a fish process facility in Norway, which deployed Evoqua technology that is applicable in the UK:

Portable ozone disinfection system eliminates listeria at a fish processing plant
Around the world, there have been instances where food processing facilities and smoke houses have been shut down by government agencies due to listeria-infected products. Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating contaminated food which can be fatal for those with weakened immune systems.

The causal agent is Listeria monocytogenes, and the food industry relies on sodium hypochlorite (bleach), peracetic acid and other chemicals to ensure food-contact surfaces and equipment are disinfected.

Customer Profile
A fish process facility in Norway detected Listeria monocytogenes. This prompted them to contact Trond Storebø of Naustor Technology, Evoqua’s partner in Norway. Trond has been installing Evoqua ozone generators onboard industrial fishing vessels for the past 15 years. This experience means they are very familiar with the industry’s requirements.

There is increasing evidence of the emergence of chemical-resistant strains of many bacteria, including Listeria, Aeromonas and Bacillus cereus. Alternative biocides are, of course, available but most are less easy to handle and may raise health and safety concerns. There is one alternative that has been around for many years but, until recently, has been lightly used in the food processing industry: ozone. Ozone is a powerful disinfectant and an environmentally sustainable alternative that leaves no chemical by-products.

Xylem and Evoqua

Xylem and Evoqua

Within three weeks, Naustor had acquired an Evoqua PC Series ozone disinfection system. The PC Series is a trolley-mounted unit that can provide ozonated water instantaneously anywhere in the food processing factory. The ozone is produced inside the onboard generator from ambient air and electricity, constituting a 100% autonomous solution able to facilitate plug & play applications. The stainless-steel PC Series incorporates an on-board oil-free air compressor, pump and off-gas destructor, making it completely safe for operators. The technology also gives the user the ability to adjust the ozone output which means greater flexibility and a broader range of application uses.

Ozone acts more quickly than chlorine-based chemicals – at a concentration of 2.5 mg/l disinfection is almost instantaneous – and it destroys the extracellular polysaccharides that form adherent biofilms.

Trond Storebø. Managing Director in Naustor Technology, said: “Before the customer started using the mobile ozone system, they used chemicals for sanitisation, but could not get rid of the bacteria. Since the introduction of ozone, they have not detected listeria at all within the plant, process machinery or the final product.”

The use of ozone has made the products safer, enhances the shelf-life for fresh produce and protects the company’s brand. Employees also noticed reduced smells in the factory because ozone also removes the slippery fish-film from the floor. This has provided a better working environment for everyone. In addition, the use of ozone is a practical application since it is produced safely on site and allows the company the possibility to produce their own disinfectant.

Xylem is a sponsor of Aquaculture UK, 2024. The keynote “Optimised energy consumption in land-based aquaculture – sustainability put to life”’, by Asbjørn Husby and Ronny Haugland, will take place on 15 May 2024 at 1pm in the Keynote Theatre, Aviemore.

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