process and product optimisation for land-based aquaculture production

Innovation in sustainable aquaculture through the development of new closed-loop systems for the production of healthy and safe fish products.





food safety



about us


The University of Salento is a community made up of students, teachers, and technical-administrative staff, who are committed to the free promotion of research and education as tools for human development, affirmation of pluralism, and pursuit of equal social dignity, without any ideological, political, religious, nor economic orientation. Within the university community, no one can be discriminated against in any way or form due to their choices in studies, research, and teaching.


Besides the two fundamental objectives of education and research, the University of Salento pursues a third mission, which is to foster the direct application, enhancement and utilization of knowledge to contribute to the social, cultural, and economic development of the territory in which it operates. In the specific, the Department of Innovation Engineering (DII) – through the Urban Farming and CPS Laboratories – and the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (DiSTeBA) – through the Physiology and Microbiology Laboratories – have contributed to this project.


Urban Farming LAB (DII)

The Urban Farming Lab was founded in 2019 by Prof Angelo Corallo, from the Dept of Innovation Engineering, and Profs Tiziano Verri and Pietro Alifano, from the Dept of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies. The UF Lab’s vision is to increase food system sustainability and compatibility with the urban environment.


It thus conducts interdisciplinary research in the fields of Automation and Robotics in the Food Industry, Food Science, Biomaterials and Systems Ecology. The UF Lab also houses an indoor aquaponics demonstrative system, including a DSS and embedded IoT systems for environmental monitoring.


CPS Laboratory (DII)

CPS Lab researches and develops detection, computation, control and networking technologies in heterogeneous application fields ranging from living environments and telemedicine to unmanned vehicles and smart transports and cities. The research activities include Food and Environment, Autonomous vehicle services and operations, Living environments, Smart Transport, Cybersecurity and Misinformation.

Physiology Laboratory (DISTeBA)

The Applied Physiology Laboratory at DiSTeBA aims to make available and accessible the biological information contained within living organisms and variably preserved throughout the evolutionary scale. This information is utilized in human biology and biomedicine (e.g., genetic studies on human diseases, especially rare and degenerative diseases), as well as in the biotechnological sector of animal production (e.g., breeding and maintenance of fish species).


About improving human well-being and health and the health of organisms in breeding, activities are focused on two main application areas:
• Applied physiology for the study of rare and degenerative diseases in humans
• Applied physiology for the study of aquaculture organisms
In the laboratory, similarities and differences between species are studied, and comparative analysis between organisms is used to extract general laws that regulate the structure-function relationships at every organizational level of living beings, including humans.


Microbiology Laboratory (DiSTeBA)

In the Applied Physiology Laboratory at DiSTeBA, the structure and metabolic diversity of prokaryotic cells are studied concerning the performance of cellular functions through the observation, growth, and identification of microorganisms.

Region of Puglia – FEAMP

Department of Agriculture, Rural and Environmental Development – FEAMP Program Service The Operational Program of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (FEAMP) 2014-2020 aims to promote a common European strategy for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth in the fishing sector through:


• Limiting the impact on ecosystems and biodiversity
• Fostering innovation and experimentation
• Supporting the competitiveness of businesses, especially SMEs
• Engaging and actively involving local communities in all stages of the development and implementation of territorial development strategies.



The project “Innovation in the field of sustainable aquaculture, through the development of new closed-loop systems for the production of healthy and safe fish products (INAQUA-2-O)” sets in the field of precision aquaculture by developing a comprehensive methodological and technological framework for the assisted production of aquatic species in a controlled environment, with the aim of:
1) increasing efficiency and productivity;
2) drastically reducing the impact on the soil-water-air ecosystem;
3) supporting domestic food consumption without affecting natural fish populations and meeting the growing attention of Italian families to food quality.


The objective is to give a significant boost to aquaculture in Puglia, allowing it to express its growth potential while respecting the environment and consumer health. To this end, systems and technologies will be developed for:
1) automated management of the production system and treatment of water and waste;
2) qualitative and quantitative improvement processes for the bred species, from larvae to the final product, aimed at enhancing the organoleptic and functional qualities of the edible part (through feeding plans that also involve the use of postbiotics);
3) processes and technologies for the production of natural biopolymers (collagen), intended for more profitable sectors (such as medical/biomedical), using production/processing waste.
The technical and scientific knowledge promoted by the INAQUA-2-O project aims to revitalize the aquaculture sector in Puglia, which has been in a chronic crisis due to negative growth rates and significant competition from foreign productions. At the same time, the INAQUA-2-O project will address environmental issues resulting from the unsustainable use of land-based facilities, such as intensive farming of carnivorous fish that feed on other fish – as is the case, for example, with sea bream or bass fed with fish-based meal and oil – or the discharge of waste (excrement, leftover feed, drug residues), which can also cause serious damage to benthic and nektonic communities in surrounding ecosystems. This is in line with the objectives of the interventions envisaged by Article 47 of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 and with the actions of the Strategic Aquaculture Plan 2014/2020, which aim to further innovation in the aquaculture sector in order to promote sustainable use of resources in aquaculture or facilitate the application of new methods of sustainable production. While it is true that Italian aquaculture, in general, and Puglian aquaculture, in particular, can and must meet the challenge of satisfying domestic demand for fish products, it is necessary to establish conditions for sustainable development, in line with the increasing sensitivity of consumers to environmental protection, health, and food safety. In this regard, it is worth noting that the research group at the University of Salento [specifically, the departments of Innovation Engineering (DII) and Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (DiSTeBA)], consisting of management, electronic, computer, and materials engineers, economists, biologists, and biotechnologists with specific expertise in microbiology of aquatic environments and physiology of breeding organisms, has already developed innovative technologies and methodologies to support sustainable growth in the marine, maritime, and aquaculture sectors, and intends to increase their number and potential for the benefit of aquaculture businesses in Puglia, through the interventions envisaged by the INAQUA-2-O project.


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