Ocean program – Bio assets technology theme

Microalgae strains from across Canada
Microalgae strains from across Canada

The ocean represents an enormous Canadian and global resource. The need for bio-sensing solutions to monitor the health of the ocean ecosystem, particularly around industrial sites, is becoming prevalent due to the intensification of economic exploitation of the marine environment.

In addition, to achieve sustainable wealth generation from the ocean, we must be able to:

  • rapidly detect and monitor the impacts of pollution and climate change in our marine ecosystems
  • reach for new technologies that mitigate the environmental impact of traditional marine industries 
  • search for new sources of value from healthy ocean communities

These challenges are incorporated into the goal of the bio assets technology theme, which is to improve ocean monitoring and produce value-added products from bio-resources.

The bio assets technology theme offers opportunities for industry, whose investments in environmental characterization around their operational sites (i.e. aquaculture, oil and gas) can help to reduce the impact on marine ecosystems, and create new revenue streams by identifying and developing novel marine-based products.

Contact us

If you are interested in collaborating with us, making investments in this area, or if you have any questions, please contact:

Fabrice Berrué
Research & Technology Lead
Telephone: 1-902-426-0636
Email: Fabrice.Berrue@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Related links

Areas of focus

Bio-sensing solutions for monitoring ocean health near industrial sites

A factory near a body of water.

Improving our ability to monitor the ocean surrounding industry operational sites will help expedite response in the event that pollutants are released into the water, allowing for reduced clean-up time and less costs associated with the restoration of the area.

Research in this area will focus on the development of novel biosensor tools for monitoring ocean health. This includes investigating the potential of leveraging phytoplankton and other algae organisms as candidates for developing bio-sensors. Research will also consider natural organisms for bio‑remediation and other green technologies to restore and protect the natural environment.

Value-added products from marine bio-resources

Algae samples.

Deriving additional value from processing waste will be a key research area under the bio assets technology theme. This research will focus on:

  • economical and sustainable production processes for alternative protein and bioproducts (i.e. green alternative to petroleum-based chemicals)
  • mining to identify marine microbes and fermentation extracts that can be screened for bioactive natural products
  • prospecting new, high-value ingredients from the sea to be used for commercial applications (i.e. health and personal-care products, food and feed)

Alternative source of proteins for food and feed applications (i.e. aquaculture)

Fishes in water.

A specialized field of study under this technology theme will focus on developing new technologies in aquaculture, spanning the entire value chain from novel fish feed ingredients, algal antimicrobials as feed additives, algal remediation of waste streams, and upgrading of aquaculture waste streams to value-added products.


The bio assets technology theme leverages the NRC's Aquatic and Crop Resource Development Research Centre's expertise in fundamental and applied algae research, including end-to-end expertise and capabilities in algal biology and physiology research, strain development and maintenance, cultivation scale up, biomass processing, biomass analysis, and feed product development. The Research Centre also has expertise in the application of algae to the areas of aquaculture waste stream valorization and marine metagenomics for ocean bio-sensing.

Through this technology theme, we expect to see research and development activities designed to:

  • improve bio-remediation and sustainable production of bio-products (green alternative to petroleum-based chemicals)
  • develop bio-sensing technologies to monitor ocean health
  • develop new aquaculture feed (fish nutrition and health)
  • produce high-value products with commercial applications (food, feed, human health, and the personal-care industry)
  • improve prospecting and mining of bio-resources for value-added products
  • improve sustainable production of alternative protein sources

The Research Centre team is seeking partnerships and collaboration with industry and academic partners, particularly in the areas of marine biotechnology, industrial microbiology, waste stream valorization (e.g. aquaculture and fisheries processing), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and environmental genomics to advance our work in ocean biosciences and bring innovative solutions to marine industries.

Bio assets projects

Projects listed under the Bio Assets technology theme are in various stages of development.