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New Blue Revolution through a pioneering pathogen-trapping technology based on bioselective hydrogel-forming proteins

Project description

Catching pathogens directly from the water

European aquaculture takes a variety of forms, such as intensive farming models that are widely used for rearing finfish. However, intensive models have led to an increase in infection outbreaks, impacting fish health, food production, the environment and the industry’s bottom line. The EU-funded PathoGelTrap project will develop a pathogen-trapping technology that will bring a paradigm shift in infectious-disease management practices. Specifically, it will design a chimeric biomimetic material that will efficiently recognise and trap fish pathogens (both viruses and bacteria) directly in the water and block them. The project will provide the industry with two solutions: PathoGelTrap Liquid (for closed fish farms) to be added directly into the fish-farm water as a flocculant agent and PathoGelTrap Filter (for both closed and open fish farms) to trap the pathogens as they pass through the regular aquaculture filtration systems.


Aquaculture is a key player to ensure future food and nutrition security. However, intensive farming models are leading to a dramatic increase in infection outbreaks that drastically impact fish health, food production, the environment and this industry's bottom line. Current strategies to control and prevent infections in intensive aquaculture (mainly vaccines and antibiotics) have important drawbacks, which pose a great challenge to the future sustainability of global fish production.

Here, we propose to transform the aquaculture future through a paradigm change in infectious-disease management practices by providing industry with a pioneering pathogen-trapping technology, PathoGelTrap, able to target and remove specific pathogens directly from water.

Going way beyond the state of the art, we will use the current knowledge on self-assembling properties of the Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation proteins (LLPS) and affibodies (AFB) to rationally design a chimeric biomimetic material (LLPS-AFB chimera) that will efficiently recognize and trap fish pathogens (both viruses and bacteria) directly in the water and inactivate them. Thanks to the versatility offered by LLPS proteins, we propose to provide the industry with two different solutions: i) PathoGelTrap Liquid (only for closed fish farms): here the LLPS-AFB monomeric protein acts as a flocculant agent to be added in situ, i.e. directly into the fish-farm water. The protein will bind the targeted pathogens in the water and later self-assemble into liquid droplets that will evolve into hydrogels, which will drag in turn the pathogen to the bottom; ii) PathoGelTrap Filter: here we will cast a customized LLPS-AFB hydrogel to be used as a preformed filter that will trap the pathogens as they pass through the regular aquaculture filtration systems.

This proposal represents a significant advance in biomaterial engineering opening the door for a revolutionary approach for infectious disease control in Aquaculture.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 623 875,00
Calle severo ochoa 3, edificio monterrey 0f 1-a
28232 Las rozas de madrid

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (6)