Welcome   Sponsored By
Subscribe | Register | Advertise | Newsletter | About us | Contact us

Image: NUS / FIS

Upcycling fish scales for water pollution control and encryption

Click on the flag for more information about Singapore SINGAPORE
Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

Fish is commonly consumed but many may not be aware that the food and aquaculture sectors generate a huge amount of fish scale waste from processes such as preparation, canning, filleting, salting and smoking. Disposal of fish scale waste in landfills may cause serious environmental pollution problems. Therefore, converting fish scale waste into functional materials could help to reduce environmental impact and generate economic benefits.

Contributing to this effort, physicists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a novel method of repurposing fish scale waste to act as a bio-adsorbant to effectively remove the pollutant Rhodamine B from water, and a material for information encryption.

Source: NUS

A research team, led by Professor Sow Chorng Haur from the NUS Department of Physics, discovered that heating fish scales at an optimal temperature transformed them to become suitable adsorbents for water pollutant Rhodamine B, a common pink dye used in textiles, paper, paints and water flow tracing agents. Rhodamine B is associated with potential health risks such as cancer and liver failure, and threats to marine ecosystems.

The scientists also found that the heat-treated fish scales emitted a vibrant cyan glow, compared to a dim royal blue fluorescence when they were untreated, under ultraviolet (UV) light. This characteristic can be harnessed to utilise fish scales as a natural material capable of transmitting micro and macroscopic text and imagery.

“As the global population grows and resources become more limited, sustainability involves greater emphasis on reusing waste materials. Globally, an estimated 7.2-12 million tons of fish waste is projected to be discarded yearly. This makes fish scale waste an abundant resource for upcycling. By re-evaluating waste streams, fascinating properties and multifunctionalities can be discovered in materials that may have been overlooked previously,” said Prof Sow.

The research team also comprised Dr Sharon Lim Xiaodai from the NUS Department of Physics, Dr Zhang Zheng from the Agency of Science, Technology and Research, and Mr Malcolm Sow Miao Geng from the NUS High School of Math and Science. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications on 16 October 2023.

Giving new life to fish scale waste

Fish scales primarily consist of interlacing collagen, a protein known for maintaining a youthful appearance, and hydroxyapatite, a mineral found in bones and teeth. Due to the good biocompatibility of these two compounds, different methods have been used to extract them for further development into fluorescence labels which help detect biomolecules in research. However, these processes often require significant amounts of time, energy, and chemical resources. Enhancing the fluorescence of fish scales through a more direct and efficient method would improve cost-effectiveness.

From right to left: Rhodamine B-contaminated water bottles treated with increasing quantities of heat-treated fish scales in the same duration, with a control bottle of water on the extreme left. With an increased amount of fish scales, an increased amount of the reddish dye pollutant was removed. Source: NUS

With the researchers’ facile heating method, the fish scales undergo both chemical and physical changes. Long chains of collagen are broken down into smaller segments that emit blue light under UV excitation. Simultaneously, atom arrangement is altered which creates surface and internal pores that transform fluorescence properties and enhance pollutant adsorption.

When in contact with Rhodamine B, the heat-treated fish scales effectively removed 91 per cent of of the pollutant within a short 10-minute contact time. Fish scales contaminated with Rhodamine B can be reused through a simple sonication process, enhancing the sustainability of the material. With just a single thermal annealing step required, this innovative technique is more cost, energy and time efficient than using other inexpensive biomass such as activated carbon white sugar which needs to go through multiple steps of chemical treatment, washing and thermal annealing in order to remove Rhodamine B.

From left to right: Heat-treated fish scales, including some that have adsorbed the Rhodamine B pollutant, under white light, UV light and green light. Under green light, a hidden word "NUS" is formed from the fish scales that have adsorbed Rhodamine B. This underscores the scales’ potential as a material to convey concealed information. Source: NUS

The fluorescent properties of the heat-treated fish scales under different types of light can also be harnessed for steganographic purposes. Scales can be heated in bulk on a hotplate and arranged to convey a message, or laser-engraved with text and images on a microscopic scale. These hidden messages can be revealed under UV light. Heat-treated fish scales which have adsorbed Rhodamine B also glow orange under green light excitation, compared to the same heat-treated fish scales without Rhodamine B that display a very dim blue fluorescence under the same light. This presents another option for steganographic pattern design.

Next steps

Source: NUS

Looking ahead, the research team will look into developing economical and readily accessible Rhodamine B test kits for use in outfield detection using heat-treated fish scales. The approach will help minimise the risk of Rhodamine B consumption and exposure by communities relying on natural water bodies, and outfield scientists transporting contaminated water sources.

Further research is also planned to explore whether the heat-treated fish scales can adsorb other toxic chemicals.

Source: National University of Singapore

[email protected]


Click to know how to advertise in FIS
Viet Nam
Apr 22, 05:00 (GMT + 9):
Vietnamese shrimp exports recover to main markets
Viet Nam
Apr 22, 01:00 (GMT + 9):
Reduction in Fishing License Quotas
Russian Federation
Apr 22, 01:00 (GMT + 9):
In Bashkortostan they are creating an attractive investment environment for the development of fish farming
Apr 22, 01:00 (GMT + 9):
Harmful Algal Bloom in the Group of Salmonid Concessions 17B
Apr 22, 01:00 (GMT + 9):
More than 149 thousand tons of anchovy were unloaded three days after the start of the first fishing season
Apr 22, 01:00 (GMT + 9):
Balfegó becomes the first B Corp company in the Spanish fishing sector
Apr 22, 00:50 (GMT + 9):
Statistics │ Import │ Bluefin tuna southern │ Mexico, Australia, S. Korea and N. Zealand │ 2023-24
Apr 22, 00:50 (GMT + 9):
Statistics │ Catches │Bluefin tuna catch and farmed │ by country │ 2018-2022 by FAO
Apr 22, 00:40 (GMT + 9):
Production volume │Surimi derived products | Chikuwa - Kamaboko - Naruto │2022-23-24
United States
Apr 22, 00:30 (GMT + 9):
Products derived from alaska pollock and pacific cod (NMFS of DAP in GOA-BSAI): surimi, fillet, roe and fishmeal | week 14
Apr 21, 23:00 (GMT + 9):
IN BRIEF - Steakholder Foods Regains Compliance With Nasdaq Minimum Bid Price Requirement
United States
Apr 21, 22:40 (GMT + 9):
IN BRIEF - NOAA: 2024-2026 Specifications for the Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan
Apr 21, 20:00 (GMT + 9):
The Canarian fishing fleet will show at the Gourmets Hall how to practice 'batch cooking'
Apr 21, 16:00 (GMT + 9):
Opromar gives the keys to 'efficient cooking' of hake and mackerel and minimizing food waste
Apr 21, 00:40 (GMT + 9):
Statistics │ Exports │ Mackerel │ Japan, China, Netherlands, Vietnam │ 2022-24

Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global celebrates its 30th edition with top experts
Spain The Expo will bring together more than 90 leading international seafood industry experts in its conference program, including keynote speaker Mark Blyth, The William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of I...
Under the nose of the Minister of Production: irregular entry of a Chinese squid jigger occurs with serious questions
Peru Last night, April 18, a hundred artisanal fishermen from the Port of Chimbote, in the Ancash Region, had to stop their fishing tasks because an immense Chinese fishing boat appeared in front of them t...
Indian Ocean squid price index: Flying squid (Ommastrephes bartramii)
China In order to continuously enhance the ability to control squid resources and price influence, and conduct more accurate resource assessment and forecasting, the China Ocean Fisheries Association&n...
MSC certification of Dutch trawl fleet partly suspended
Netherlands The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announces that the certificates for sole, beam trawling and flyshoot and otter trawl fishing in the North Sea will be suspended with effect from April 25, 2024. In...

Maruha Nichiro Corporation
Nichirei Corporation - Headquarters
Pesquera El Golfo S.A.
Ventisqueros - Productos del Mar Ventisqueros S.A
Wärtsilä Corporation - Wartsila Group Headquarters
ITOCHU Corporation - Headquarters
BAADER - Nordischer Maschinenbau Rud. Baader GmbH+Co.KG (Head Office)
Inmarsat plc - Global Headquarters
Marks & Spencer
Tesco PLC (Supermarket) - Headquarters
Sea Harvest Corporation (PTY) Ltd. - Group Headquarters
I&J - Irvin & Johnson Holding Company (Pty) Ltd.
AquaChile S.A. - Group Headquarters
Pesquera San Jose S.A.
Nutreco N.V. - Head Office
CNFC China National Fisheries Corporation - Group Headquarters
W. van der Zwan & Zn. B.V.
SMMI - Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Co., Ltd. - Headquarters
Icicle Seafoods, Inc
Starkist Seafood Co. - Headquearters
Trident Seafoods Corp.
American Seafoods Group LLC - Head Office
Marel - Group Headquarters
SalMar ASA - Group Headquarters
Sajo Industries Co., Ltd
Hansung Enterprise Co.,Ltd.
BIM - Irish Sea Fisheries Board (An Bord Iascaigh Mhara)
CEFAS - Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science
COPEINCA ASA - Corporacion Pesquera Inca S.A.C.
Chun Cheng Fishery Enterprise Pte Ltd.
VASEP - Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers
Gomes da Costa
Furuno Electric Co., Ltd. (Headquarters)
NISSUI - Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. - Group Headquarters
FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization - Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (Headquarter)
Hagoromo Foods Co., Ltd.
Koden Electronics Co., Ltd. (Headquarters)
A.P. Møller - Maersk A/S - Headquarters
BVQI - Bureau Veritas Quality International (Head Office)
UPS - United Parcel Service, Inc. - Headquarters
Brim ehf (formerly HB Grandi Ltd) - Headquarters
Hamburg Süd Group - (Headquearters)
Armadora Pereira S.A. - Grupo Pereira Headquarters
Costa Meeresspezialitäten GmbH & Co. KG
NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Headquarters)
Mowi ASA (formerly Marine Harvest ASA) - Headquarters
Marubeni Europe Plc -UK-
Findus Ltd
Icom Inc. (Headquarter)
WWF Centroamerica
Oceana Group Limited
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Ajinomoto Co., Inc. - Headquarters
Friosur S.A. - Headquarters
Cargill, Incorporated - Global Headquarters
Benihana Inc.
Leardini Pescados Ltda
CJ Corporation  - Group Headquarters
Greenpeace International - The Netherlands | Headquarters
David Suzuki Foundation
Fisheries and Oceans Canada -Communications Branch-
Mitsui & Co.,Ltd - Headquarters
NOREBO Group (former Ocean Trawlers Group)
Natori Co., Ltd.
Carrefour Supermarket - Headquarters
FedEx Corporation - Headquarters
Cooke Inc. - Group Headquarters
AKBM - Aker BioMarine ASA
Seafood Choices Alliance -Headquarter-
Austevoll Seafood ASA
Walmart | Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Supermarket) - Headquarters
New Japan Radio Co.Ltd (JRC) -Head Office-
Gulfstream JSC
Marine Stewardship Council - MSC Worldwide Headquarters
Royal Dutch Shell plc (Headquarter)
Genki Sushi Co.,Ltd -Headquarter-
Iceland Pelagic ehf
AXA Assistance Argentina S.A.
Caterpillar Inc. - Headquarters
Tiger Brands Limited
National Geographic Society
AmazonFresh, LLC - AmazonFresh

Copyright 1995 - 2024 Seafood Media Group Ltd.| All Rights Reserved.   DISCLAIMER