FaciLitating detection, understAnding production, and improVing mitigation of undesired taste and Odour compoUnds in aquacultuRe (FLAVOUR)

The overall aim of the project FLAVOUR, is to detect, prevent and remove off-flavour and undesired odour in fish farmed in Recirculated Aquaculture Systems (RAS). Off-flavour compounds, such as geosmin, are produced by microorganisms and give the fish an unpalatable taste, even at very low concentrations. Today, the main strategy for remedying this problem is to depurate the fish in large quantities of clean water for 10–15 days. The fish lose a significant amount of weight during this period, affecting the production efficiency in addition to the environmental effect of excessive water use.

The demand for and production of fish is steadily increasing. Aquaculture is a driver in this growth with a projected increase of 37% by 2030 and the geosmin problem is expected to increase accordingly as more RAS will be implemented to meet this expected growth demand. The Nordic countries are a stronghold in both technology for aquaculture and production of fish.

Implementing the technological solution developed in the FLAVOUR project is expected to increase the profit at European RAS fish farms by 22 mio. EUR accumulated over three years after project conclusion, assuming geosmin can be removed from the fish in half the time. The environmental impact, realized by savings in water, is expected to amount to 100 mio. m3. On-top of this a 2% increased production capacity is expected.

FLAVOUR addresses the problem with off-flavour by combining fundamental research on why the compounds are produced with development of new technology for monitoring and removal. The project has three objectives:

1) determine which microorganisms produce off-flavour compounds and how this is affected by environmental factors. This will result in recommendations on operational strategies to minimize the production of off-flavour compounds.

2) develop novel technology for monitoring geosmin levels in water by combining new measurement technology with advanced biotechnology. The goal is to have a technology for rapid and simple geosmin measurements ready by the end of the project.

3) explore bioelectrochemical systems for minimizing production of and removing off-flavour compounds from the water.

The project consortium is built on interdisciplinary cooperation between academic partners with expertise in environmental technology and microbiology and industrial partners within analytical technology, chemistry and biotechnology as well as fish production in recirculated aquaculture systems.