ST. JOHN’S — The Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development at the Marine Institute will receive $100,000 from the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program to continue research into extracting chitin from shrimp shells.
Chitin is a naturally occurring substance found in various shellfish species such as crab and shrimp. With its binding and absorption qualities, it can be used in a range of industrial applications, including waste water treatment, cosmetic production and medical applications such as wound dressings.
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Hutchings said in press release that the money will assist the Marine Institute and industry partner Barry Group International as they explore a new product opportunity involving shell waste that could create gains for everyone in the shellfish industry.
These shells have generally been discarded using current production practices, but should this process prove viable, it could create greater economic benefits for the processing sector.
In a preprared release, Bill Barry, CEO of Barry Group, said “we are very happy to work with the provincial government and the Marine Institute and would like to thank both parties for their assistance in research in the production of this valuable product.”
Heather Manual, director of the Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development at the Marine Institute, said “to continue to promote a sustainable fishery, we need to look at reducing the amount of waste we produce. With the extraction of chitin, we put more of the shrimp to work for us and we are improving on our current methods of that process.”
The new process the Marine Institute is studying is expected to significantly reduce the use of chemicals used to extract chitin, which in turn will improve the cost effectiveness of the process. The release noted that Barry Group International, has been researching the chitin extraction process for a number of years.