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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

The future of intensive tilapia production and the circular bioeconomy without effluents: Biofloc technology, recirculation aquaculture systems, bio-RAS, partitioned aquaculture systems and integrated multitrophic aquaculture

Zimmermann, Sergio; Kiessling, Anders; Zhang, Jiasong


Modern tilapia farming with low use of water aims, as in circular bioeconomy, to reduce inputs and fully reuse waste and effluents, closing flows or links of economic and ecological resources and decentralizing production systems (local production and local consumption). Concerns over diseases, market demand for a clean, sustainable and ecologically correct aquaculture, with greater and more efficient controls, increased predictability and repeatability of activities, are leading to a series of structural changes in the reuse of water and effluents through various closed recirculation systems with the reuse of waste as nutrients. In recent decades, one of the most important innovations and trends of tilapia culture is towards circular bioeconomy, characterized in this review by several recirculation systems, such as biofloc technology (BFT), recirculation aquaculture systems (RASs), bio-RAS, partitioned aquaculture systems (PASs with split ponds, SPs; and in pond recirculation system, IPRS) and integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA). The future of tilapia culture meshes with urban agriculture and waste fermentation, where low-demand water recirculation systems will be the protagonists in the disruption of industries in five main sectors (materials, energy, information, transport and food/health), that still today focus on extraction, into a more sustainable local model.


bioflocs; bio-RAS; circular bioeconomy; culture systems; recirculation; tilapia; zero effluents

Published in

Reviews in Aquaculture
2023, Volume: 15, number: Supplement 1, pages: 22-31
Publisher: WILEY

    SLU Authors

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG14 Life below water
    SDG2 Zero hunger

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

    Publication Identifiers


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