U.S. Companies Partner To Get The Ammonia Out Of Aquaculture

Thanks to population boom and inefficient agricultural operations, demand for land space may soon outpace what’s available. Coupled with climate change and ocean acidification, the future of global fish and food stocks are in jeopardy. So how will we produce food when there’s little open space or suitable ocean left? Some have suggested aquaculture, a closed loop system for breeding fish and growing plants, is the answer.

One major barrier has prevented this symbiotic system of food production from really catching on: ammonia [PDF]. Fish excrete ammonia through their gills after eating. In large scale aquaculture operations, this is often more than the plants can filter out. WeFeedUs, one the world’s largest sustainable aquaculture companies, announced a partnership with Los Angeles-based OriginOil to research the use of the company’s Solids Out of SolutionsT (SOS) technology to both clean out water toxins and harvest algae for fish feed.

We Feed Us, Aquaculture, food, ammonia

Image via We Feed Us

“In 2010, the fast-growing global aquaculture industry farmed 60 million tons of fish with a market value of more than $119 billion,” said Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil CEO, in a press release. “But heavy toxin levels limit growth and are unhealthy for the fish and the environment. We believe that we may be able to do something about that. We also believe that we may be able to help this industry adopt algae for feed on a much greater scale.”

The company’s SOS technology has already been shown to reduce dangerously high ammonia content in water by 99 percent in three minutes without the use of chemicals. It’s hoped that development of this technology will help remove excess ammonia, fertilizers and chemicals from water, reduce the use of antibiotics, and decrease mortality rates, making aquaculture that much more sustainable.

Through the new partnership, OriginOil will provide WeFeedUs with the technology and expertise to control the amount of ammonia and bacteria in onsite production ponds while scaling algae production. Similarly, WeFeedUs will use its expertise in sustainable aquaponics to certify the effectiveness of OriginOil’s technologies in improving aquaculture operations.


Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

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