Addressing the challenges of aquaculture through Ecodesign and Life Cycle Analysis in the framework of the PathoGelTrap project

The situation in which large-scale intensive farming models evolve together with the rapid growth of the world’s population is critical in terms of food supply, nutritional security, fish health and economics in this sector. Some solutions focused on avoiding these threats in aquaculture have been put into practice, although so far the results do not respond effectively to the requirements of intensive production models, so they cannot yet be considered a long-term solution. In this context, it is essential to introduce new models of control and prevention of infections by pathogens to guarantee the perpetuation over time and the sustainability of the so-called “Blue Revolution”.

To meet this challenge, the EU-funded Horizon 2020 FETOPEN PathoGelTrap project is developing a pathogen capture technology, which will bring a paradigm shift in infectious disease management practices. Specifically, it will design a material that will efficiently trap fish pathogens (both viruses and bacteria) directly in the water, blocking their action.

The project provides the industry with two solutions: PathoGelTrap Liquid, for liquid use; and PathoGelTrap Filter, adaptable to conventional aquaculture filtration systems. Both systems are applied in marine and freshwater environments, increasing the applicability and probability of development success.

Within the project, LOMARTOV is in charge of promoting and evaluating the sustainability of the PathoGelTrap technology, analyzing and optimizing its environmental, economic and social impacts through a life cycle perspective. To this end, an ad-hoc methodology for Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCC) is being developed, which is positioned as an exemplary contribution within the strategies related to the objective of the Green Transition in the aquaculture sector, according to the New Strategy for Sustainable Aquaculture in Europe (COM (2021) 236 final).

For this purpose, in the first place, LOMARTOV has carried out an exhaustive study of the state of the art of the technologies currently used in water disinfection in aquaculture, which have been evaluated using the LCA and LCC methodologies. Specifically, 6 different water treatment scenarios have been analysed, including ozonation, ultraviolet radiation and a combination of both applied to continuous flow and recirculating aquaculture systems. The results obtained have made possible to establish the economic and environmental limits within which the PathoGelTrap technology must be positioned to guarantee its viability and acceptance. In parallel, a bibliographic review has been carried out on technical, environmental and economic aspects of the current methods of production of materials adaptable to the production chain of PathoGelTrap solutions. All this obtained knowledge has been used to generate ecodesign recommendations that have been transferred to the development partners, which will undoubtedly help guide the new value chain towards a sustainable approach, fully aligned with the objectives of the European Green Deal. Finally, the next advances and the final value proposition of the project will be systematically analyzed in all its life cycles (production, use and end of life) from an environmental, social and economic perspective, with the aim of promoting and improving future innovation actions, and disclosing the final results of the project regarding its performance in terms of sustainability.

The Project “New Blue Revolution through a pioneering pathogen capture technology” (PathoGelTrap), aims to develop the next generation of biosensor materials, developing a sustainable technology for the control and prevention of diseases in aquaculture. The consortium is made up of 6 partners, coordinated by “SMARTWATER PLANET SL” from Spain. LOMARTOV is a partner in charge of LCA, LCC and social LCA.

Further information about the project here.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 899616.

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