Plant Sensory Systems LLC, based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, was one of four aquaculture project out of 15 that are to receive funding from the latest round of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland that teams Maryland companies with university researchers.
Plant Sensory Systems develops technologies that improve agricultural performance and reduce negative environmental impact. The company was awarded $135,950 for its work with Allen Place, professor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to produce a plant-based aquafeed with low-leaching taurine, a compound required for the development and growth of farmed fish and shellfish.
Two other aquaculture projects involve automated oyster production, while a third enhances oyster aquaculture by co-harvesting algae as an additional product.
Metompkin Seafood Inc., based in Crisfield, distributes a variety of seafood products in the Chesapeake Bay region. The company works with Donald Meritt, principal agent, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to develop a high-volume, spat-on-shell oyster production system based on remote setting technology. ($238,676)
Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company LLC, based in Fishing Creek, produces high-quality half-shell oysters and the equipment needed to support aquaculture in Maryland. The company works with Yang Tao, professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, to develop a laser 3D machine vision system that sorts Chesapeake Bay-cultured oysters into quality grades. ($511,000)
Hollywood Oyster Company LLC, based in Hollywood, is one of the largest oyster farms in Maryland. The company works with Patrick Kangas, associate professor, department of environmental science and technology, University of Maryland, to develop methods for scaling up macroalgae aquaculture to be grown in conjunction with oysters, both as a commercial product and to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. ($157,880)
In another algae project, Manta Biofuel LLC, based in Reisterstown, manufactures renewable, carbon neutral crude oil from algae at a cost that is competitive with fossil crude oil. The company collaborates with Russell Hill, professor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to determine the quality of oil that will be produced from varying types of algae blooms. ($332,274)