Skip to main content
Advertisement
Advertisement
MicroSynbiotiX offers an efficient oral vaccination method for aquaculture.
MicroSynbiotiX offers an efficient oral vaccination method for aquaculture.

Irish start-up company MicroSynbiotiX scooped first prize in the Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge event, thanks to a “game-changing” innovation of producing oral vaccines, that are locked into genetically-modified microalgae, to combat diseases and infections in aquaculture.  

Advertisement

The challenge centred on the question “What is your breakthrough innovation that cannot wait?” and more than 40 ideas were submitted, with ten finalists selected to this week's two-day event.

"We were very impressed by the very high level of the competition and it is fair to say that for all ten finalists it was a performance in itself to have been selected to participate," said jury chair Professor Daniel Berckmans of the University of Leuven.

"What made MicroSynbiotiX stand out was that they have developed a high risk, high potential innovation. Oral vaccination can be a real game-changer in managing disease outbreaks in aquaculture, contributing to a significant reduction in the use of antibiotics and a decrease of production losses. These are the innovations that can make a difference in feeding a growing world population in a sustainable way."

Disease outbreaks in aquaculture result in losses worth over $10 billion each year, which accounts for more than 5 per cent of global production. Currently vaccination is done manually, which is cumbersome, costly and requires the fish or shrimp to be of a certain size and maturity. MicroSynbiotiX offers a more efficient oral vaccination method.

Antonio Lamb, chief operating officer and cofounder of MicroSynbiotiX, said: "We are really thrilled to have won. The on-farm validation trial is a unique opportunity to accelerate our innovation, a real 'money-cannot-buy' opportunity. And the interaction and collaboration with Nutreco specialists, the jury members and the other start-ups was a reward in itself. That's what makes this challenge stand out from other challenges and contests we participated in."

Jury member Viggo Halseth, Nutreco’s chief innovation officer, said: "Although we could select only one winner, there are several other promising start-ups that we are really looking forward to establish a relationship with for future collaboration.”

The runners-up in the event were KnipBio from the US, which developed microbes that will convert low-cost feedstock into nutritious single-cell proteins laden with pigment-enhancing carotenoids to produce healthier fish, and Slovenia’s EKO-GEA , which has developed a method of freeing up target compounds in Ascophyllum nodosum marine algae, turning it into a versatile prebiotic tool.

Advertisement