The initiative, launched at the call of Corredor Tecnológico, will be carried out in Huila department located in the southwest of Colombia, in the Andean region.
Marnie Conde Quintero, executive director of Acuapez, explained that the project aims to add value to tilapia scales, for which the development of a laboratory scale methodology will be intended to extract chitin or chitosan from them, the newspaper La Nación informed.
"The research goes hand in hand with the Technology Development Centre together with Proceal, currently exporting tilapia to the United States. It is worth noting that chitin and chitosan are used to extend the life shelf of the whole food issue, specifically in the pharmaceutical area for the treatment of wastewater and for pharmaceutical processing," Conde Quintero pointed out.
"We want to take advantage of all the component of tilapia and we have found that at this time the scale is not being properly used, since it is thrown away because we were not sure about what it could be used for. Even, we will be making a major environmental contribution," the director highlighted.
This study will last 12 months and will be funded with USD 120,000. Out of this total, USD 84,000 will be funded through the Corredor Tecnológico and USD 36,000 by private enterprise.
In Colombia, the districts where tilapia is farmed more widely are Huila, Tolima, Antioquia, Santander and Valle de Cauca, regions contributing 75 per cent of national production.
According to Acuapez, in 2013 Huila produced about 32,982 tonnes of red and black tilapia. Tilapia is sold as a whole fish, in fresh fillets, and as products like sausages, burgers, steaks and by-products such as heads, fleshy skeleton and oil.
By Analia Murias