Sunday, August 11, 2013


Shrimp is a delicacy enjoyed by people all over the world though its price has been escalating continuously during the last few years. Besides countries like India earn substantial foreign exchange through large scale exports of frozen shrimp. World wide shrimp consumption is estimated at over 7 million tons out of which about 40% is produced through aquaculture. Top shrimp producing countries include China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and India. As the supply from natural sources like sea has been dwindling due to over exploitation, shrimp farming became an instant success with thousands of such farms supplementing the catch from the sea. Even for maintain the man created shrimp growing facilities, feed materials are required to be made from smaller fish from the sea which are converted into formulated feeds making it unsustainable in the long run. It is in this context that the new development in Australia which enables microorganisms to be used in formulating efficient feed substitutes without using fish as the base material. Here is a take on this path breaking research break through with far reaching implications for this planet.  

"CSIRO researchers have been trying to grow marine microbes as alternative food for farmed prawns for at least a decade. Farmed prawns are usually fed pellets, which are highly unsustainable to make because their key ingredient is fish caught in the wild. Dr Nigel Preston says his team found a way to grow marine microbes in controlled environments, which mimic conditions of mangroves and estuaries. The microbes are then harvested and turned into a food additive called Novacq. "We have developed a game-changing technology that will allow the industry to grow in a far more sustainable way," he told AAP. "It's better for consumers, the environment and prawn farmers."

Biotechnology has provided solutions to many problems in the past to help mankind to live in a more sustainable manner and this is another instance of its out reach for increasing food supply. It is unfortunate that Biotechnology is getting negative publicity because of its over stress on genetically modified foods while there are hundreds of more impact making developments in many other areas. Mirobes are touted as the future friend of man because of their versatility and variety. There are many substances of food as well as non-food importance made through fermentation and the future of mankind is firmly linked to microbes without which life can never be livable!  


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