Research Projects



  • MicroMucus . .
  • "Laksemikrobiota" . .
  • MicStaTech - Water treatment technology for microbial stabilization in landbased aquaculture systems (2015-2018)
  • MIRA – MIcrobially produced Raw materials for Aquafeed (2014-2018)
  • Gnotobiotic cod larvae to unravel microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions (2014-2016)




MicroMucus . .

 . . .

"Laksemikrobiota" . .

. . .


MicStaTech - Water treatment technology for microbial stabilization in landbased aquaculture systems (2015-2018)

The paradigm of this project is that a stable, elevated microbial abundance in the water phase of land based aquaculture systems can be beneficial for fish health and economically profitable. A common challenge in land based systems, and shown across species, is the loss of fish due to unfavourable conditions and disease outbreaks that may be linked to opportunistic bacteria. A popular approach to prevent this is to attempt to reduce the load of bacteria in the systems by the use of UV or ozone disinfection. This is however not possible or sufficient in the majority of systems, because disinfection has a non-lasting effect on the numbers and a destabilising effect on the composition of bacteria. In most systems, the water exchange rates and organic loading applied for biological reasons allow for microbial regrowth in the rearing tanks. Hence, alternative approaches to reduce the chances of disease outbreaks are needed. This project pursues the concept of establishing and maintaining stable microbial systems. Water treatment technology for promoting K-selection, which is a selective pressure disfavouring the r-selected opportunists, has shown very promising results for several marine species in small scale experiments, but the up-scaling and optimization for flow through systems (FTS) and recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) remains. The paradigm favouring a stable and elevated bacterial abundance is foreseen to reduce fish mortality and also reduce water treatment costs. This project will investigated fish health and microbial carrying capacity correlations as well as identifying treatment requirements to achieve a certain microbial stability.

Partners in the project is NTNU, Department of Biotechnology (coordinator), Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, and Technical University of Denmark (DTU Aqua). The project runs for the period 2015-2018 and is financed by Research Council of Norway and is part of the EraNet COFASP.


MIRA – MIcrobially produced Raw materials for Aquafeed (2014-2018)

Marine microorganisms are a natural source of essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Thus cultivated microorganisms are a sustainable resource for salmon feed ingredients on both short and long term.

The overall objective of this project is to establish new knowledge on the possibility of using biotechnological production systems for realization of bacteria and photosynthetic microalgae as sustainable resource for protein and EPA/DHA in salmon feed.

Secondary objectives:

1. Establish strains of R. opacus with the ability to synthesise DHA and incorporate it in storage lipids using a synthetic biology approach

2. Establish strains of microalgae with reduced antenna size and hence improved quantum yield and increased productivity by selection and gene editing

3. Evaluate microbial raw materials as feed ingredients in digestion and growth trials with salmon

4. Make an analysis of sustainability and social acceptance of GMO and non-GMO microbial biomass for fish feed

5. Disseminate the results to the scientific community, stakeholders and the general public

The project partners are a multidisciplinary team and include The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) with Departments of Biotechnology, Biology, and Energy and Process Engineering-Industrial Ecology, SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, and international partners (IGV GmbH and Univ. Münster)

The project runs for the period 2014-2018 and is financed by Research Council of Norway.


Gnotobiotic cod larvae to unravel microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions (2014-2016)

For most marine aquaculture species, and especially for reared cod, one of the main challenges is the stable production of high quality juveniles. The high and unpredictable mortality, which can amount to more than 80 % in the first weeks after hatching, is mainly due to unfavourable interactions with bacteria in the water.

In order to improve the survival and growth of cod larvae, we need a better understanding of the interactions that take place between the larvae and microbes, and between the microbes themselves. However, these host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions are incredibly complex. This inherent complexity can be successfully reduced by applying gnotobiotic systems, which contain only known bacteria. By allowing cod larvae to develop under specific and known conditions, the effects of bacteria during a period of rapid growth and extensive gut development can be intensively studied.

This project is divided into three sub-projects:

  • Cod larvae reared under different microbial conditions will be analysed with regards to effects the microbiota have on growth, survival, gene expression and metabolomics.
  • Community structure of the microbiota associated with developing cod larvae, the function of r- and K-selected microbial communities, and also host responses to different microbial communities.
  • Determine complex microbe-host and microbe-microbe interactions in cod larvae by correlating different microscopic techniques at different resolutions.

This project is co-funded by NFR (HAVBRUK, 233865), NT-faculty NTNU and EU through FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IIF (project number 625655).



For recently running projects, see The archives.