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Collaborative Success Stories: Fish out of Water


University of Missouri researcher Dr. David Brune is growing shrimp without an ocean.

As the population grows, so does the demand for food—particularly food that grows to maturity in a relatively short time. One such product is shrimp; however, global overfishing has raised concerns about the future supply of imported shrimp.

Brune has an answer to those concerns: aquaculture. Using a specially designed system developed in collaboration with Clemson University, Brune grows shrimp in a greenhouse at MU’s Bradford Research Center. The facility can produce a new crop of saltwater shrimp in as few as 90 days.

The operation creates no wastewater, maintaining water quality using microbial biomass such as algae and bacteria. Brune’s innovative system also uses filter-feeding fish and invertebrates to convert the biomass into shrimp feed—sidestepping the energy-intensive import of expensive feeds. By-products from the system include solid organics that can be used to provide bioenergy, as well as nitrogen and phosphorus concentrates which can be used as crop fertilizer.

“A lot of the seafood that is eaten in today’s market is unsustainable,” Brune says. “In order to expand or sustain the seafood business, aquaculture is necessary.” He is currently working to make the process more affordable to land-locked farmers.

Dr. David Brune is professor of agricultural systems management in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

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Related Initiative(s):
Food for the Future