The technology developed by NCKU speeds up grouper's growth and increases its meat and fat components. (Photo: National Cheng Kung University)
New technology accelerates grouper growth
Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) announced this week that its new immune-inhibition technology will be transferred to another grouper farming firm, the third one benefitting from this development.
NCKU President Hwung Hwung-hweng and Chairman of Grobest Feeds Corp Chen Ho-hsiu signed the contract.
"The technology transfer will dramatically shorten the fish aquaculture period, cutting both risks and costs," Chen said.
He estimates that the novel technology will boost the company’s revenues to the tune of USD 72.85 million over the next five years and raise its market share, Central News Agency reports.
|Grouper farming. (Photo: National Cheng Kung University)
Chen Tzong-yueh, director of NCKU's Institute of Biotechnology, developed the technology over the past three years; it has already been taken to two other companies so far this year.
Chen discovered that the technology accelerates growth in grouper and augments the meat and fat content without the need to use growth hormones.
In a 20-week field trial, Chen and his research team used the immune-inhibition technology on one pond of groupers and a traditional method on another pond as a control group. The team found that the groupers raised in the pond using the immune-inhibition technology grew to weigh 490 g, while the groupers in the control group reached only 375 g.
Chen noted that grouper farms normally take 14 months to produce marketable 600-g fish. His new technology, however, takes only 10 months to produce the same size of fish.
Grouper is in high demand in the international market, and it can be farmed year-round in southern Taiwan thanks to the region’s favourable weather conditions. According to the Council of Agriculture's Fisheries Research Institute, grouper farming is on its way to becoming a promising industry across the globe, with the Asia-Pacific region at its hub.
China is currently the main grouper farmer and Taiwan comes in second place, even though the latter’s annual output value of USD 104 million is twice that of China.
Back in March, NCKU and Taipei-based Merit Ocean Biotech Inc signed a technology transfer license deal to domestically promote mass production of high-quality and disease-free grouper fingerlings.
“As healthy fingerling is the key for a sustainable grouper aquaculture industry, the rearing condition, nutrition requirement and disease prevention are the key elements for the successful production of healthy fingerlings,” explained Professor Huey-Lang Yang, Director of NCKU’s University Centre for Bioscience and Biotechnology.
By Natalia Real