Aquatic Cell Technology & Aquaculture

Brief Description

The core projects of the Working Group Aquatic Cell Technology & Aquaculture are the establishment and use of new long-term cell cultures from limnic and marine fish species, the cryopreservation of piscine somatic cells and germ cells, and the application of integrated aquatic systems for the sustainable production of fish and plants.

Fish cell cultures are used, among other things, as test and model systems in aquatic or ecotoxicology, in veterinary virus research and vaccine development, in the pharmaceutical industry, or are used in regenerative medicine and basic research. The working group has meanwhile established over 80 somatic long-term cell cultures of 23 different fish species.

Cryopreservation technology is a powerful tool to conserve the genetic biodiversity of both wild species and to use it for aquaculture offspring programs. Already from over 120 different species tissues and cell cultures could be stored in the German Wildlife Cellbank "Alfred Brehm" (short: CRYO-BREHM,

Integrated aquatic housing systems are particularly well suited to the sustainable production of a wide variety of organisms, such as Fish and vegetables (freshwater) or fish, macroalgae and invertebrates (saltwater). The entire aquaculture production should take place here under controlled conditions, which is why the WG also deals with the optimized offspring of new aquaculture species (such as mullets and cichlids). The AG carries out projects with national and international partners.

Research Projects


Ich liebe Fisch

The nutritional situation in Malawi can be improved by optimizing aquaculture. In a cooperation project funded by the BMEL, the breeding protocols of a native Malawi fish species (Oreochromis karongae) are reviewed and adapted. In conjunction with these measures, linking fish and vegetable production in integrated aquatic systems (such as aquaponics) will optimize the efficiency of fish and vegetable production.



In various regions of Germany, carp breeding farms face high economic losses if an outbreak of the Koi herpes virus disease occurs. In order to protect uninfected carp stocks from infection, an improvement in the diagnostic methods and the development of preventive measures are necessary. The aim of the project is to establish robust cell cultures from carp tissue. These create the conditions for efficient vaccine development.

Cell cultures from aquatic organisms for animal health research

Aquaculture is a fast growing market worldwide. In addition to fish, mussels, shrimp and other marine animals are bred. A major problem with increasing stocking densities is to ensure the health of the animals. In future, effective in-vitro models can be used to diagnose a variety of different diseases better and faster.

Zebrafish breeding for biomedical applications

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) serves biomedical research as a valuable model organism. Therefore zebrafish are bred in the Fraunhofer EMB, for example to develop in-vitro models or to use the eggs for developmental biological questions.