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Results
1. Marine by-product biomasses: Qualities & Processing (WP1 & 2)

Fish and fish components, including filleting by-products, are healthy and essential for our health and wellbeing. AQUABIOPRO-FIT promotes the establishment of a circular economy by exploiting the 'sea of opportunities' in marine by-product biomasses. WP1 & 2 involves studying the market, products and existing technologies in the field of nutritional supplements, relating them to the qualities of major available aquaculture and fisheries by-product biomasses in Europe. We identify documentation gaps in existing opportunities, and develop cost efficient downstream processing methods for the production of standardised products and compounds.

2. Marine bioactive compounds (WP3)

AQUABIOPRO-FIT closes the gaps and creates new documentation for the bioactivity of marine biomass innovative feed and food ingredients. Our studies include determining the functionality of fish protein hydrolysates and ω-3 concentrates in heart cell health and muscle cell growth, the antioxidant and antimicrobial activity and the in vivo effect at proteome and metabolome levels using a S. cerevisiae eukaryotic cell model. We evaluate the biological activity, toxicity and bioavailability of marine extracts with in vitro and in vivo models.

3. Elixir development (W4)

AQUABIOPRO-FIT scales-up the most relevant processing methods for stabilisation, extraction, separation and up-concentration of desirable marine bioactive compounds from tunicates and fish by-products. We develop fish protein concentrate powders and oil products with improved taste and odour to be included in health promoting elixirs.

4. Tunicate cultivation & products (WP2-4)

In AQUABIOPRO-FIT we scale up biofiltration of plankton in eutrophic systems and cage farm particles by tunicate cultures (Ciona intestinalis) to produce tunicate based meals and cellulose based bioactive ingredients. Ciona, commonly called a sea squirt, traps prey particles by pumping water through their oral siphon and functions 24/7 as an excellent natural water filtration system. In AQUABIOPRO-FIT, we apply a multi-trophic aquaculture system where faeces and other side-stream particles from agriculture and fish farming can be utilised by surrounding tunicates and transformed into valuable marine lipids and proteins.

5. Clinical tests (WP5)

The effectiveness of the developed elixirs in AQUABIOPRO-FIT is studied by specialists in clinical tests, evaluating how they improve athlete's performance, alleviate contemporary physical and psychological pathologies such as anxiety and depression and improve body pH balance, skin and hair quality.

6. Economics & Environment (WP6)

AQUABIOPRO-FIT investigates the legislation/regulations associated with using marine by-product biomasses as feedstock for food ingredients, novel food and the standards that need to be met for food ingredients. We study the economic feasibility of the developed technologies by Life cycle cost assessment (LCC) and determine the CAPEX and OPEX and hot spots for optimisation. We evaluate environmental impacts and benefits by Life cycle assessment (LCA). We implement social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) of the AQUABIOPRO-FIT innovative processes, focusing on their interaction with the society in affecting social organisation, employment and public perception. The legal and regulatory aspects are covered through a relevant regulatory benchmark, to determine the limitations and increase the deployment of the developed solutions. Risk assessments are also performed, to identify and quantify potential risks and develop contingency and mitigation plans.

7. Outreach & Training (WP7)

The stakeholders from food, supplements, feed and bio-based industries together with the scientific community, opinion leaders, policymakers, media and general public are informed about the processes, products and documentation developed in the project through our website. Via e-learning, our goal is to educate, create societal awareness and combat people's bias in using foodstuffs from circular economy biomasses. For this, we build a functional and operational training platform about organic nutritional supplements technologies. At the same time, we inform stakeholders, partner networks and the public about AQUABIOPRO-FIT through project leaflets, newsletters, articles, social media, conference presentations, trade fairs and the final project conference.