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Purdue University Receives $10M Grant From USDA For Aquaponic Research Project

Purdue University Receives $10M Grants From USDA For Aquaponics

Purdue University has just received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase the production of seafood in the United States. The funding will be used to build a pilot-scale integrated aquaponics system that will produce tilapia and lettuce. Aquaponics is a sustainable method of farming that combines aquaculture and hydroponics to intensively produce seafood and plants using less land and water than conventional food production. By using this system, Purdue researchers hope to reduce the United States’ dependence on imported seafood, which currently accounts for about 90% of all seafood consumed in the country.

One of the key benefits of seafood is that it is healthier and more sustainably produced than land-based foods. Seafood is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, and can help to reduce harmful substances such as cholesterol and saturated fat. By increasing the production of seafood in the United States, Purdue researchers hope to make it easier for Americans to access these health benefits.


The aquaponics system that Purdue researchers plan to build will be a zero-waste food production system that converts nutrient-rich waste into energy for system operation and high-value bioproducts. The system also includes a biorefinery subsystem to convert algae and fish byproducts into high-value nutraceuticals such as bioactive peptide and phenolic compounds. The biorefinery can also turn the algae into fish feed for the aquaponics operation.

In addition to building the aquaponics system, the Purdue researchers also plan to engage in stakeholder education and outreach. By sharing their knowledge and experience with others, they hope to help more people understand the benefits of sustainable seafood production and the importance of reducing the United States’ dependence on imported seafood.

Overall, this grant represents an important investment in sustainable seafood production in the United States. By increasing the availability of locally produced seafood, Purdue researchers hope to improve the health of Americans and reduce the country’s dependence on imported seafood.

Image: Bob Rode, at left, manager of the Aquaculture Research Lab, and technician Ian Kovacs tend to tilapia raised in the facility. Paul Brown, professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue University, oversees the lab’s experimental aquaponics systems. (Purdue University photo/Tom Campbell)


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