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Flocculation is a physical process by which small bubbles suspended in a fluid coalesce to form aggregates. It has long been used in wastewater treatment and even longer in beer and cheese production.

One of the first references to what is now referred to as ‘Biofloc’ might be traced back to an article entitled “Food Bubbles” that appeared in a November 1964 issue of the Scientific American magazine.  It introduced what previously was an unappreciated path in marine food web, wave generated bubbles that stimulated formation of organic-rich aggregates.  The article stated: “……. molecules from the vast supply of organic chemicals dissolved in seawater adhere in large numbers to the ‘air bubbles’ two-dimensional boundary layers. They form clumps of organic material that are eaten by the smallest members of the marine animal population. “It was pointed out that the quantity of organic matter in the oceans is at least 50 times greater than contained in all living plankton.”



The production system used in Ithuba is a Mix-o-Trophic Biofloc that is more energy-efficient than traditional production systems. At Ithuba, a dual pump system is used to circulate the water through specially designed injectors to mix and aerate the water.  This setup eliminates the need for a separate aeration system powered by a blower or paddlewheels.

The combination of autotrophic, heterotrophic, and chemotrophic bacteria (named Mix-o-Trophic) provides a unique Biofloc system. Nitrogenous wastes are controlled in-situ by the Biofloc system eliminating the need for circulating the water through an external biofilter and there is zero discharge of recirculated water.

ONE OF THE DIFFICULTIES FACING SHRIMP FARMERS who attempt to produce shrimp inland on a small to medium scale is determining the re-usability and conservation of the water being used.  Not only does this influence operational costs, but it affects production levels.  Most commercial buyers of shrimp require product from the seller on at least a weekly basis.  This leads to a large number of production units with a staggered stocking and harvest strategy.  The water management and labor requirements for an industrial scale shrimp production operation are too high to make this a realistic option for the typical small or medium size farm unless the water is re-used and conserved.


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