Prof. Jaap van Rijn

Aquaculture

Publications in Google Scholar

“Fish perform all their bodily functions in water.
Because fish are totally dependent upon water to breathe,
feed and grow, excrete wastes, maintain a salt balance and reproduce,
understanding and controlling the quality of water is critical to successful aquaculture.
To a great extent, water determines the success or failure of an aquaculture operation”

Research Interests:

  1. Aquatic microbiology
  2. Biological transformation of N, P, C and S in aquatic systems
  3. Water quality control in fish culture systems

 

See also: Jaap Van Rijn

Curriculum Vitae

Degrees:

  • Ph.D. Division of Microbial and Molecular Ecology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 1985.
  • M.Sc. Division of Microbial and Molecular Ecology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 1981.
  • B.Sc. National Agricultural College, Deventer, The Netherlands, 1978.

Teaching Responsibilities:

Microbial Ecology of Fish Culture Systems 71852
Animal Production Systems and Environmental Pollution 71815
Selected Topics in Aquaculture Research 71952
Water Quality Assessment in Aquaculture Systems 71946
General aquaculture for managers More

 

See also: Jaap Van Rijn

List of Publications

Chapters in Collections (peer reviewed)

  1. van Rijn, J., Shilo, M., Bejerano, I. and S. Nizan. 1990. The effect of inorganic nitrogen compounds on microorganisms and fish in fish ponds. In: H.Rosenthal and S. Sarig (eds.). Research in Modern Aquaculture. Spec. Publ. no. 11, Europ. Aquacult. Soc., Bredene, Belgium, pp. 3-27.
  2. van Rijn, J. and H. Sich. 1992. Nitrite accumulation by denitrifying bacteria isolated from fluidized bed reactors operated in an aquaculture unit. In: B. Moav, V.Hilge and H. Rosenthal (eds.). Progress in Aquaculture Research. Publ. no. 7, Europ. Aquacult. Soc., Bredene, Belgium, pp. 39-55.
  3. Sich, H. and J. van Rijn. 1992. Distribution of bacteria in a biofilter-equipped,semi-closed intensive fish culture unit. In: B. Moav, V. Hilge and H. Rosenthal (eds.). Progress in Aquaculture Research. Spec. Publ. no. 17, Europ. Aquacult. Soc., Bredene, Belgium, pp. 55-79.
  4. van Rijn, J. and H. Sich. 1995. Studies on a biological treatment system for closed,intensive fish culture. In: Rosenthal, H., Moav, B. and H. Gordin (eds.) Improving the Knowledge Base in Modern Aquaculture. Spec. Publ. no. 25, Europ. Aquacult. Soc., Bredene, Belgium, pp. 15-38.
  5. Sich, H. and J. van Rijn. 1995. C/N-ratios of particulate matter used as internal carbon source for denitrification in intensive aquaculture units. In: Rosenthal, H., Moav, B. and H. Gordin (eds.) Improving the Knowledge Base in Modern Aquaculture. Spec. Publ. no. 25, Europ. Aquacult. Soc., Bredene, Belgium, pp. 39-56.
  6. van Rijn, J. 1996. Biological removal of inorganic nitrogen and organic matter in closed, intensive fish culture systems. In : Rosen, D., Tel-Or, E., Hadar, Y. and Y. Chen (eds.). Modern Agriculture and the Environment. Kluwer Academic Publs., Lancaster, U.K., pp. 195-211.
  7. van Rijn, J. and Y. Barak. 1998. Denitrification in recirculating aquaculture systems:From biochemistry to biofilter. Proceeding of the Second International conference on Recirculating Aquaculture. Cooperative Extension/Sea Grant, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, pp. 179-187.
  8. Muir, J.F., van Rijn, J., and J. Hargreaves. 2000. Tilapia production in intensive and recycled systems. In: Beveridge, M.C.M. and B.J. McAndrew (eds.). Tilapias: Biology and Exploitation. Kluwer Academic Publs., Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 405-445.
  9. Tal, Y., van Rijn, J. and A. Nussinovitch. 2000. Starch as a filler, matrix enhancer and a carbon source in freeze-dried, denitrifying alginate beads. In: K. Nishinari (ed.).Hydrocolloids, Part 1: Physical Chemistry and Industrial Application of Gels, Polysaccharides, and Proteins. Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.
  10. Kokkinakis, A.K, Neori, A., van Rijn, J, Eleftheriadis, E., Poulton, S.W, Krom, M.D. 2002. Water quality fluctuations in a closed recirculating aquaculture system for the intensive rearing of the sea bream Sparus aurata. In: Chatziefstathiou, M. (ed.). International Conference on Agriculture, Fisheries Technology and Environmental Management, Athens, Greece, CAFT-EM2002: 1-10
  11. Tal, Y., Yechezkel, E., van Rijn, J. and H. J. Schreier. 2004. Characterization and abundance of anaerobic ammonia oxidizing (anammox) bacteria in biofilters of recirculated aquaculture systems. Proceedings of the 5th International Conf. of Recirculating Aquaculture, Roanoke, Virginia, July, 2004, pp. 332-338
  12. Shafir, S., van Rijn, J. and B. Rinkevich. 2006. A mid water coral nursery. Proceedings of the 10th Inter. Coral Reef Symp. (ICRS), Naha, Okinawa, Japan, June 28 - July 2, 2004, pp.1674-1679.
  13. Guttman, L. and J. van Rijn. 2008. Geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol elimination in a recirculating aquaculture system: biological and chemical processes. Proceeding of the 8th IWA Symp. on Off-Flavours in the Aquatic Environment, Daejeon, Korea, October 5-9, pp. 232-244.
  14. van Rijn, J. 2007. Denitrification. In: Timmons, M.B, Ebeling, J.M., Wheaton,F.W., Summerfelt, S.T. and B.J. Vinci (Eds.). Recirculating Aquaculture systems (2nd ed.). Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center, Cayuga Aqua Venture, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  15. Koven, W.M., Harpaz, S., van Rijn, J. and N. Mozes. (in press). Aquaculture in Israel: Current status and innovative approaches. In: I.S. Azad and S. Al-Ablani (Eds.). Aquaculture in the Middle East and North Africa: Status and Research Needs. Nova Science Publishers, New York, USA.

Review Articles (peer reviewed)

  1. van Rijn, J. 1996. The potential for integrated biological treatment systems in recirculating fish culture - A review. Aquaculture 139:181-201.
  2. van Rijn, J., Tal, Y. and H.J. Schreier. 2005. Denitrification in recirculating systems: theory and applications. Aquacult. Engineer. 34: 364-376.
  3. van Rijn, J. Waste treatment in recirculating aquaculture systems. Aquacult. Engineer. 53: 49-56.

Articles (peer reviewed)

  1. Walsby, A.E, van Rijn, J. and Y. Cohen. 1983. The biology of a new gas-vacuolated cyanobacterium Dactylococcopsis salina sp. nov., in Solar Lake. Proc. Royal Soc. Lond. B. 217: 417-447.
  2. van Rijn, J. and Y. Cohen. 1983. Ecophysiology of the cyanobacterium Dactylococcopsis salina, Nov. sp. Effect of light intensity, sulphide and temperature. J. Gen. Microb. 129: 1849-1856.
  3. van Rijn, J. and M. Shilo. 1983. Buoyancy regulation in a natural population of Oscillatoria spp. in fish ponds. Limnol. and Oceanogr. 28: 1034-1037.
  4. van Rijn, J. and M. Shilo. 1985. Carbohydrate fluctuations, gas vacuolation and vertical migration of scum-forming cyanobacteria in fish ponds. Limnol. and Oceanogr. 30: 1219-1228.
  5. van Rijn, J. and M. Shilo. 1986. Nitrogen limitation in a natural population of cyanobacteria and its effect on macromolecular synthesis. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 52: 340-344.
  6. van Rijn, J., Stutz, R., Diab, S. and M. Shilo. 1986. Chemical, physical and biological parameters of superintensive concrete fish ponds. Bamidgeh 38: 35-43.
  7. van Rijn, J., Diab, S. and M. Shilo. 1988. Phytoplankton succession in relation to the nitrogen regime in shallow, brackish-water fish ponds. Arch. Hydrobiol.11: 183-196.
  8. Krom, M., Neori, A. and J. van Rijn. 1989. Importance of water flow rate in controlling water quality processes in marine and fresh water fish ponds. Isr. J. Aquacult.- Bamidgeh 41: 23-33.
  9. van Rijn, J. and G. Rivera. 1990. Aerobic and anaerobic biofiltration in an aquaculture unit: Nitrite accumulation as a result of nitrification and denitrification. Aquacult. Engineer. 9: 1-18.
  10. Lieberman, O.S., Shilo, M. and J. van Rijn. 1994. The physiological ecology of a freshwater dinoflagellate bloom population. 1. Vertical migration, nitrogen limitation and nutrient uptake kinetics. J. of Phycol. 30: 964-971.
  11. Arbiv, R. and J. van Rijn. 1995. Performance of a treatment system for inorganic nitrogen removal in intensive fish culture systems. Aquacult. Engineer. 14(2): 189-203.
  12. van Rijn, J., Fonarev, N. and B. Berkowitz. 1995. Anaerobic treatment of fish culture effluents: Digestion of fish feed and release of volatile fatty acids. Aquaculture 133: 9-20.
  13. Aboutboul, Y., Arbiv, R. and J. van Rijn. 1995. Anaerobic treatment of fish culture effluents: Volatile fatty acid mediated denitrification. Aquaculture 133: 21-32.
  14. Krom, M.D., Elner, S., van Rijn, J. and A. Neori. 1995. Nitrogen and phosphorus cycling and transformations in a prototype "non-polluting" integrated mariculture system, Eilat, Israel. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 118: 25-36.
  15. Nussinovitch, A., Aboutboul, Y., Gershon, Z. and J. van Rijn. 1996. Changes in mechanical, structural, and mechanical properties of entrapped P. stutzeri bacteria preparations. Biotechnol. Progress 12(1): 26-30.
  16. van Rijn, J., Tal, Y. and Y. Barak. 1996. Influence of volatile fatty acids on nitrite accumulation by a Pseudomonas stutzeri strain isolated from a denitrifying fluidized bed reactor. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62(7): 2615-2620.
  17. Sich, H. and J. van Rijn. 1997. Scanning electron microscopy of biofilm formation in denitrifying fluidized-bed reactors. Wat. Res. 31: 733-742.
  18. Hurvitz, A., Bercovier, H. and J. van Rijn. 1997. Effect of ammonia on survival and immune-response of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss, Walbaum) vaccinated against Streptococcus iniae. Fish & Shellfish Immunology 7: 45-53.
  19. van Rijn, J. and A. Nussinovitch. 1997. An empirical model for predicting degradation of organic matter in fish culture systems based on short-term observations. Aquaculture 154: 173-179.
  20. Tal, Y., van Rijn, J. and A. Nussinovitch 1997. Improvement of structural and mechanical properties of denitrifying alginate beads by freeze-drying. Biotechnol. Progress 13:788-793.
  21. Barak, Y., Tal, Y. and J. van Rijn. 1998. Light-mediated nitrite accumulation during denitrification by Pseudomonas sp. strain JR12. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 64 (3): 813-817.
  22. Tal, Y., van Rijn, J. and A. Nussinovitch. 1999. Improvement of mechanical and biological properties of freeze-dried denitrifying alginate beads by using starch as a filler and carbon source. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 51(6): 773-779.
  23. Dvir, O., van Rijn, J. and A. Neori. 1999. Nitrogen transformations and factors leading to nitrite accumulation in a hypertrophic marine fish culture system. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 181: 97-106.
  24. Barak, Y. and J. van Rijn. 2000. Biological phosphorus removal in a prototype recirculating aquaculture system. Aquacultural Engineering 22: 121-136.
  25. Barak, Y. and J. van Rijn. 2000. Atypical polyphosphate accumulation by the denitrifying bacterium Paracoccus denitrificans. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 66: 1209-1212.
  26. Barak, Y. and J. van Rijn. 2000. Relationship between nitrite reduction and active phosphate uptake in the phosphate-accumulating denitrifier Pseudomonas sp. JR 12. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 66 (12): 5236-5240.
  27. Tal, Y., Schwartsburd, B., Nussinovitch, A. and J. van Rijn. 2001. Enumeration and factors influencing the relative abundance of a denitrifier Pseudomonas sp. JR12, entrapped in alginate beads. Environmental Pollution 112: 99-106.
  28. Shafir, S., van Rijn, J. and B. Rinkevich. 2001. Nubbing of coral colonies: a novel approach for the development of inland broodstocks. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation 3: 183-190.
  29. Krom, M.D., Neori, A., van Rijn, J., Poulton, S.W. and I.M. Davies. 2001. Working towards environmentally friendly marine agriculture. Ocean Challenge 10 (2): 22-27.
  30. Poulton, S.W., Krom, M.D., van Rijn, J. and R. Raiswell. 2002. The use of hydrous iron(III) oxides for the removal of hydrogen sulphide in aqueous systems. Wat. Res. 36: 825-834.
  31. Barak, Y., Yarmus, M. Shapiro, R. and J. van Rijn. 2002. Nitrite reduction in Paracoccus denitrificans is affected by a novel plasmid pYR1. FEMS Microbiology Letters 208: 111-116.
  32. Shnel, N., Barak, Y., Ezer, T., Dafni, Z., and J. van Rijn. 2002. Design and performance of a zero-discharge tilapia recirculating system. Aquacultural Engineering 26: 191-203.
  33. Poulton, S.W., Krom, M.D., van Rijn, J., Raiswell, R. and R. Bows. 2003. Detection and removal of dissolved hydrogen sulphide in flow-through systems via the sulphidation of hydrous iron(III) oxides. Environmental Technology 24: 217-229.
  34. Barak, Y., Cytryn, E., Gelfand, I., Krom, M. and J. van Rijn. 2003. Phosphate removal in a marine prototype recirculating aquaculture system. Aquaculture 220: 313-326.
  35. Cytryn, E., Barak, Y., Gelfand, I., van Rijn, J. and D. Minz. 2003.Diversity of microbial communities correlated to physiochemical parameters in a digestion basin of a zero-discharge mariculture system. Environ. Microbiol 5: 55-63.
  36. Tal, Y., Nussinovitch, A. and J. van Rijn. 2003. Nitrate removal in aquariums by immobilized denitrifiers. Biotechnol. Progress 19: 1019-1021.
  37. Gelfand, I., Barak Y., Even-Chen, Z., Cytryn, E., Krom, M., Neori, A. and J. van Rijn. 2003. A novel zero-discharge intensive seawater recirculating system for culture of marine fish. J. World Aquacult. Soc. 34: 344-358.
  38. Shafir, S., van Rijn, J. and B. Rinkevich. 2003. The use of coral nubbins in coral reef eco-toxicological tests. Biomolecular Engineering 20: 401-406.
  39. Cytryn, E., Gelfand, I., Minz, D., Neori, A., Gieseke, A., de Beer, D.and J. van Rijn. 2005. Sulfide-oxidizing activity and bacterial community structure in a fluidized bed reactor from a zero-discharge mariculture system. Environ. Sci.Technol.39: 1802-1810.
  40. Cytryn, E., van Rijn, J., Schramm, A., Gieseke, A., de Beer, D. and D.Minz. 2005. Identification of bacterial communities potentially responsible for oxic and anoxic sulfide oxidation in biofilters of a recirculating mariculture system Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71: 6134-6141.
  41. Cytryn, E., Minz, D., Gieseke, A. and J. van Rijn. 2006. Transient development of filamentous Thiothrix species in a marine sulfide oxidizing, denitrifying fluidized bed reactor. FEMS Microbiology Letters 256: 22-29.
  42. Shafir, S., van Rijn, J. and B. Rinkevitch. 2006. Steps in the construction of an underwater coral nursery, an essential component in reef restoration acts. Marine Biology 149: 679-687.
  43. Shafir, S, van Rijn, J. and B. Rinkevitch. 2006. Coral nubbins as a source material for coral biological research: a prospectus. Aquaculture 259: 444-448.
  44. Neori, A., Krom, M.D. and J. van Rijn. 2007. Biochemical processes in intensive zero-effluent marine fish culture with recirculating aerobic and anaerobic biofilters. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 349: 235-247.
  45. Shafir, S., van Rijn, J. and B. Rinkevitch. 2007. Short and long term toxicity of crude oil and oil dispersants to two representative coral species. Env. Sci. Technol. 41: 5571-5574.
  46. Foesel, B.U., Koch, L., Gieseke, A., Cytryn, E., Schwermer, C., Stief, P., Minz,D.,van Rijn, J., Drake, H.L. and A. Schramm. 2007. Nitrosomonas Nm143-like ammonia oxidizers and Nitrospira marina-like nitrite oxidizers dominate the nitrifier community in a marine aquaculture biofilm. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 63: 192-204.
  47. Guttman, L. and J. van Rijn. 2008. Identification of conditions underlying production of geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol in a recirculating system. Aquaculture 279:85-91.
  48. Sher, Y., Schneider, K., Schwermer, C.U. and J. van Rijn. 2008. Sulfide induced nitrate reduction in the sludge of an anaerobic treatment stage of a zero-discharge recirculating mariculture system. Wat. Res. 42: 4386-4392.
  49. Guttman, L. and J. van Rijn. 2009. 2-Methylisoborneol and geosmin uptake by organic sludge derived from a recirculating aquaculture system. Wat. Res. 43: 474-480.
  50. Schwermer, C.U., Ferdelman, T.G., Stief, P., Gieseke, A., Rezakhani, N., van Rijn, J., de Beer, D. and A. SchrammPI. 2010. Effect of nitrate on sulfur transformations in sulfidogenic sludge of a marine aquaculture biofilter. FEMS Microbiol.Ecol. 72:476-484.
  51. Schneider, K., Sher, Y., Erez, J. and J. van Rijn. 2011. Carbon cycling in a zero-discharge mariculture system. Wat Res. 45(7): 2375-2382.
  52. Guttman, L. and J. van Rijn. 2012. Isolation of bacteria capable of growth with 2-methylisoborneol and geosmin as sole carbon and energy sources. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 78: 363-370.
  53. Krom, M.D., Ben David, A., Ingall, E.D., Benning, L.G., Clerici, S., Bottrell, S., Davies, C., Potts, N.J., Mortimer, R.J.G. and J. van Rijn. 2014. Bacterially mediated removal of phosphorus and cycling of nitrate and sulfate in the waste stream of a zero- discharge recirculating mariculture system. Wat. Res. 56:109-121.
  54. Kandal, P., Pasternak, Z., van Rijn, J., Nahum, O. and E. Jurkevitch. 2015. Abundance, diversity and seasonal dynamics of predatory bacteria in aquaculture zero-discharge systems. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 81:149-161.
  55. Vetter, W., Ulms, K., Wendlinger, C. and J. van Rijn. 2016. Novel non-methylated furan fatty acids in fish from a zero discharge aquaculture system. NFS Journal 2: 8-14.
  56. Rakovitsky, N., Brook, I., van Rijn, J., Ryskin, M., Mkhweli, Z., Etkin, H. and S. Nir. 2016. Purification of greywater by a moving bed reactor followed by a filter including a granulated micelle-clay composite. Applied Clay Science132-133: 267-272
  57. Yamin, G., Borisover, M. Cohen, E. and J. van Rijn. 2017. Accumulation of humic- like and proteinaceous dissolved organic matter in zero-discharge aquaculture systems as revealed by fluorescence EEM spectroscopy. Wat. Res. 108: 412-421
  58. Azaria, S, Nir, S. and J. van Rijn. 2017. Combined adsorption and degradation of the off flavor compound 2-methylisoborneol in sludge derived from a recirculating aquaculture systems. Chemosphere 169: 69-77
  59. Yamin, G., Falk, R., Avtalion, R., Shoshana, N., Ofek, T., Smirnov, R., Rubenstein, G. and J. van Rijn. 2017. The protective effect of humic-rich substances on atypical Aeromonassalmonicidasubsp. salmonicida infection in common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.). J. Fish Diseases. DOI: 10.1111/jfd.12645
  60. Nussinovitch, A., Zohar-Perez, C., Rabinovitz, Z. and J. van Rijn. 2017. Nitrate removal from water by immobilized bacteria. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply. DOI: 10.2166/ws.2017.075
  61. Yamin, G., Zilberg, D., Levy, G. and J. van Rijn. 2017. The protective effect of a synthetic humic acid and humic acid-rich water and sludge from a recirculating aquaculture system on Gyrodactylus and Dactylogyrus infection in guppy (Poecilia reticulata). AquacultureDOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2017.06.022
  62. Friedlander, M. and J. van Rijn. 2018. Ammonia and CO2 enrichment of a Gracilaria cultivation pond through organic waste addition. Aquaculture DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2017.08.041

Patents

van Rijn, J. Water Quality Control in Fish Ponds.

  • Israeli Patent: # 103809 (granted: 8/12/95).
  • International Patent Application: #PCT/EP 93/ 03226 (granted: 22/2/95).
  • European patent # 94901814.7-2313 (granted: 29/7/96).
  • USA patent # 5660142 (granted: 27/12/96).
  • Japanese patent #3545401 (granted: 16/4/2004).

van Rijn, J., Nussinovitch, A. and Y. Tal. Means and Process for Nitrate Removal.

  • Israeli Patent #117783 (granted 2/4/96).
  • International Patent Application #PCT/IL97/00116 (granted: 4/1/97).
  • USA patent # 6,297,033 (granted: 2/10/2001).
  • European patent application # 97 914 533.1 (granted: 16/9/2002).
See also: Jaap Van Rijn

Research Interests

Aquaculture

Captured production of aquatic food organisms such as fish, crustaceans and molluscs has stayed around the 90 million tonnes level since 2001.

A great number of traditional fishing grounds are over-fished with many of the commercial fish species on the brink of extinction. Mainly due to a growing global population, demand for fish has seen a steady increase and global food fish consumption reached a new high of 118 million tonnes in 2009.

As a result of above developments, aquaculture, the production of aquatic food organisms, has shown the fastest growth among agricultural food production sectors with per capita supply from aquaculture increasing from 0.7 kg in 1970 to 7.8 kg in 2008, an average annual growth rate of 6.6 percent. Total aquaculture production increased from 10 million tonnes of fish in 1984 to 38 million in 1998 and to 55 million tonnes in 2009.

This rapid increase in aquaculture production has affected the global market significantly as aptly summarized in the following quote from a CNN news item: "If you ate a fish for dinner last night there is a 50% chance it was not caught it the wild". With its expansion, problems related to aquaculture have become increasingly evident. Among these problems are the partial dependence of aquaculture on marine fisheries by use of wild seed and use of fish meal derived from fish caught in the wild.

Additional problems are associated with the environmental impact of aquaculture activities such as alterations in the genetic makeup of wild populations and environmental pollution by aquaculture systems. In the rapidly growing aquaculture industry, new culture systems are constantly evolving. Both from a fish biology as well as from an environmental perspective, proper water quality conditions are of crucial importance in all these systems.

By combined engineering and biological approaches, initial hurdles have been cleared but still many water quality related aspects of intensive fish culture remain unsolved. Combating water quality deterioration and, hence, pollution by aquaculture systems has been my main professional interest over the years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Development of "zero-discharge" recirculating aquaculture technology

In recent years, aquaculture (cultivation of fish or other aquatic organisms) is characterized by the tendency towards growing more fish per area unit.
As opposed to conventional fishponds, water quality deterioration proceeds rapidly in these intensive fishponds and without man-made interference, fish mortality would be imminent.

Theoretically, two options exist as to maintaining an adequate water quality in these intensive fish culture ponds: (1) The ponds are continuously flushed with clean (unpolluted) water or (2) The pond water is continuously treated in order to reduce the level of pollutants.

Unlimited amounts of clean water to flush the ponds is a luxury which is restricted to few geographical areas only, and water discharge from fish ponds cause considerable environmental pollution. Therefore, treatment of the pond water is the option of choice.

The technology, developed by our group, comprises indoor fish culture tanks operated in a fully recycling mode. This recycling is achieved by the combined use aerobic and anaerobic biofiltration whereby the bulk of pollutants are released into the atmosphere as harmless gases.

Through research on several freshwater and marine pilot plants we showed that fish can be grown at high densities with adequate water quality conditions in a complete closed mode, i.e., without discharge of water and organic and inorganic waste products to the environment. In 2007, the patented technology was sublicensed to the GFA company.

After operating a beta plant for production of gilthead seabream in Israel, the company installed a commercial marine fish culture plant in Hudson (NY, USA) in 2009, which operates under the name “Local Ocean”.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur transformations in recirculating systems

Specific research topics over the years were focused on biological conversions of inorganic nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur compounds as well as the identification of microorganisms involved in these conversions.

Studies on denitrification, both in the field as well as with denitrifying bacteria isolated from recirculating systems, provided important and novel information on the physiology of denitrifiers as well as their activity and metabolism under field conditions.
Denitrifiers were not only found to control nitrate concentrations in the culture water but also were major intermediates in orthophosphate removal from the culture water.

In marine recirculating systems operated according to this zero-discharge principle, sulfide production was of major concern as this compound is highly toxic to fish.
A study aimed at identifying the microorganisms underlying sulfur transformations was initiated and attracted cooperating scientists interested in marine sulfur transformation processes resulting in information not only relevant to the marine zero-discharge system but also to the marine sulfur cycle as a whole.
During the last years, much of my research efforts were directed at examining the importance of the anammox process in marine, zero-discharge systems. The study, in its final stage, point to a symbiosis of denitrifiers and anammox organisms in organic-poor parts of the treatment system.

Removal of off flavor compounds

Production and biodegradation of off-flavor compounds, geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol, in recirculating systems has been an additional topic of intense research over the last years.

These metabolites are two of the most common compounds that impart a so called off-taste to fish. Furthermore, these compounds are often associated with an earthy-musty taste and odor of drinking water.

Our study on off flavor compounds in recirculating systems, the first of its kind, revealed that geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol are produced by streptomyces that form an intrinsic part of the microbial community in the treatment stages of these systems.

These initial findings led us to the conclusion that instead of preventing production of geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol, more attention should be directed toward the removal of these compounds in these recirculating systems. We found that a considerable removal of these compounds took place by adsorption to organic sludge in the anaerobic treatment stage and, in addition, that under these latter conditions the compounds were also biodegraded.
Enrichment of the organic sludge resulted in the isolation of some bacterial strains with degradation properties of geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol not described thus far.

Phosphate mineralization

Earlier studies demonstrated that denitrifiers are able to store polyphosphate and thereby withdraw considerable quantities of orthophosphate from the culture water.
Presently, in cooperation with British and American counterparts, we hypothesized that in marine environments, polyphosphate derived from the denitrifiers, might serve as an important intermediate in apatite formation.

We found that pore waters within the anaerobic treatment compartment of the zero-discharge recirculating system were highly oversaturated with respect to hydroxyapetite. This apatite formation was attributed to two possible mechanisms, one involving direct precipitation of phosphate from pore water solutions, the other, involving polyphosphate as an intermediate in apatite formation.
In collaboration with Prof. Michael Krom (Leeds University, UK).

The beneficial effects of humic acids in aquaculture systems

Over the years, we encountered few diseases in the zero discharge systems we operated. These systems, due to their closed mode of operation, are characterized by humic acid rich water.


This led us to our working hypothesis that such acids (as described largely in the grey literature) might exert an antiseptic protection for the fish cultured in these systems. Initial studies have revealed a steady increase of humic acids in zero-discharge recirculating systems.
The compounds mainly originate in the anaerobic treatment step where most of the organic matter is digested. Furthermore, preliminary studies revealed that koi carp, cultured in humic acid-rich water, were to some extent protected against a highly virulent strain of herpes virus.

Immobilization of microorganisms

Control of water quality in both freshwater and marine aquariums is usually conducted by incorporation of filtration systems. These systems usually comprise mechanical filtration for removal of organic material and biological filtration for conversion of ammonia to nitrate (nitrification).

Nitrate, the end product of nitrification, accumulates in the water and is usually not removed. With the booming interest in the aquarium hobby, seawater aquariums have gained increased popularity and, moreover, new exotic ornamental fish species are steadily introduced.

These developments have led to higher demands with respect to the water quality in aquariums. In particular, much of the recent literature in the field stresses the need for nitrate removal as: (i) some ornamental fish species are unable to propagate or grow in water containing
high nitrate levels (e.g. soft water species such as discus, marine fish species, organisms within marine reef systems and (ii) high nitrate levels in aquariums stimulate undesired algal growth on the walls of the aquarium (fouling). Ongoing research in our labs examines the possibility of using immobilized denitrifying bacteria for nitrate removal from aquariums.

For this purpose, single and complex biopolymers were employed as carriers for denitrifying bacteria. Through an examination of the biological and mechanical properties of those immobilized complexes in aquarium set ups, we found that low nitrate levels could be sustained for extended periods of time. In collaboration with Prof. Amos Nussinovitch (HUJI).

 

See also: Jaap Van Rijn

Lab members

Technicians:

  • Ms. Miriam Barak

Ph.D. students:

  • Gilad Yamin, DSVM - Probiotic function of water in a zero-discharge recirculating fish culture system.
  • Michal Raz Bahat - The digestive system in corals and its adaptation to coral predation on particulate matter. (Joint supervision with B. Rinkevitch).

M.Sc students:

  • Assaf Lazarus- Development of a multi species coral nursery for coral reefs restoration. (Joint supervision with B. Rinkevitch).
  • Ayelet Ben-Natan - Physiological indicators for nitrate toxicity in fish
  • Ido Revel - Removal of Geosmin and 2-Methylisoborneol by Immobilized Bacteria in aquaculture systems. (Joint supervision with A. Nussinovitch).
  • Snir Azaria – Bioreactor development for removal of off-flavor compounds from recirculating systems.

Former students:

Master's degree students

  • 1990-1991 Wisenfeld-Kruse, C. Aerobic denitrifying and heterotrophic nitrifying bacteria in wastewater treatment systems.
    Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands. Joint supervision with: J.G. Kuenen, N. Iversen, K. Hendriksen.
  • 1989-1991 Rivera, G. Nitrite accumulation during nitrification and denitrification in The treatment of aquaculture wastewater.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Oceanography.
  • 1991-1993 Arbiv, R. Studies on a denitrifying fluidized bed reactor used in a recirculated fish culture system.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 1992-1994 Aboutboul, Y. Volatile fatty acid mediated denitrification.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • Zuckerman, U. Antifouling paints as an algicide in Mekoroth third line reservoirs.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 1994-1996 Dvir, O. Microbial transformation of nitrogen in an integrated system for the growth of marine fish and seaweed – nitrification and denitrification.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture. Joint supervision with: A. Neori.
  • 1994-1996 Alkalai, R. Microbial transformations of nitrogen in an intensive fish culture system.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 1994-1996 Hurvitz, A. Streptococcal vaccine in rainbow trout (Oncorchynchus mykiss, Walbaum): Evaluation of efficiency with different adjuvants and under chronic ammonia stress.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture. Joint supervision with: H. Bercovier.
  • 1995-1997 Barak,Y. Factors mediating nitrite accumulation during denitrification by Pseudomonas sp. and Ochrobactrum anthropi.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 1996-1999 Zahira, G. Performance of nitrifying filters operated in an intensive aquaculture system.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 1998 Shnel, N.† Studies on water purification processes in a semi-commercial, closed fish culture system with emphasis on the anaerobic water purification stage.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 2000 Even-Chen, Z. Degradation of organic matter in an intensive marine aquaculture system.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 2000-2002 Gelfand, Y. Study on nutrient transformations in a zero-discharge mariculture recirculating system with emphasis on sulfide oxidation system.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 2002-2005 Guttman, L. Off-flavor causing actinomycetes in recirculating fish culture systems.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 2002-2007 Koch, L. Shifts in the ammonia-oxidizing community structure in a trickling filter of an aquaculture recirculating system.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture. Joint supervision with D. Minz.
  • 2005-2007 Sher, Y. Influence of sulfide on nitrate reduction in the anaerobic treatment stage of a zero-discharge system.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 2007-2009 Almog, Oshri. Mass culture of the freshwater rotifer Branchionus calysiflorus.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture. Joint supervision with E. Lubzens.
  • 2008-2011 Nachum, Ortal. An examination of prokaryote predatory in the treatment steps of a zero discharge aquaculture system.
    Joint supervision with E. Jurkovitch.
  • 2008-2012 Fertig, Tamar. Removal of nitrogen by heterotrophic bacteria transformed with anammox-encoding plasmids.

Doctoral degree students:

  • 1995-2001 Tal, Y. (formerly Aboutboul). Studying and improving denitrification processes in hydrocolloid immobilization systems.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture. Joint supervision with: A. Nussinovitch.
  • 1997-2002 Barak, Y. Phosphate removal in recirculating aquaculture systems.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • 2000-2005 Cytryn, E. Sulfur cycling in a closed-system, marine intensive aquaculture unit.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture. Joint supervision with: D. Minz (Volcani Institute).
  • 2001-2008 Shafir, S. Agricultural and biological aspects of inland cultivation of corals.
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture. Joint supervision with: B. Rinkevitch.
  • 2003–2009 Yehezkel, E. Anaerobic ammonia oxidation (anammox) by bacterial isolates from aquaculture systems.
  • 2005 - 2012 Guttman, Lior. Production and reduction of the off-flavor compounds, geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol, in recirculating aquaculture systems.

Post-doctoral fellows:

  • 2005–2006 Schneider, H.K. Tracing carbon cycling in a marine zero-discharge fish culture system by means of stable isotope geochemistry.

 

See also: Jaap Van Rijn