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Genetic Benefits From Industry-Academic Linked Research

by Ellen Hardy
15 January 2008, at 12:00am

EU - Researchers gathered in Brussels today to learn more about an FP7 Marie Curie scheme providing 400 million between now and 2013 for staff exchanges between businesses and universities.

The "Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways" scheme is designed to involve small businesses, which make up the bulk of European companies. It opens doors to using research results that can help them develop - and aquaculture research is benefiting.

The conference showcases past successes and among them was Dr Julie Maguire of Daithi O'Murchu Marine Research Station (DOMMRS) in Ireland.

Dr Maguire co-ordinates a research project involving five partners in Ireland, Norway and Italy : Institute of Marine Research, AKVAFORSK, Fastnet Mussels Ltd and the University of Bologna. The studies are investigating genetic selection techniques to overcome problems of inconsistencies in the quantity and quality of shellfish supplies.

Industry-links

The four year industry-linked academic project - Bivalves from Farm to Fork - is costing in the region of £579,000 and is being entirely funded by the EU through the Marie Curie Fellowship.

The Daithi O'Murchu Marine Research Station, Ireland

The aim of the research is to optimise scallop aquaculture production and processing. It hopes to develop an economically viable and environmentally sustainable genetic breeding programme for scallops capable of producing seed in a hatchery that can supplement inconsistent wild seed supplies.

Scallop production is constrained by the annual inconsistency in the quantity and quality of the wild seed supply. These differences result in variable qualities of fully grown scallops and provide processors with a raw material very different from other food materials used in modern processing industries.

Key areas under investigation include:
  • A review of current best practice for hatchery technology and ongrowing of scallops select the most appropriate system and install it at the hatchery site.
  • To design a selective breeding programme and carry out a successful breeding cycle.
  • The development of 'best practice' methods for transport of spat, ongrowing and harvesting.
  • To determine optimal handling, storage and packaging systems for fresh and frozen scallop products.
  • The assessment of environmental, food-safety and economic risks of the hatchery breeding programme, on-growing and processing systems used.
  • The dissemination of industry guidelines, recommendations and associated scallop hatchery production, ongrowing and processing management tools to a wide audience.

The research team says that their investigations are providing valuable information to industry and the collaboration definitely wants to continue working together. They are now looking for new opportunities.

Visit the Daithi O'Murchu Marine Research Station for more details.

For further information about Marie Curie Actions click here

Ellen Hardy