Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 1289–1295 | Cite as

On the bioremediation efficiency of Mastocarpus stellatus (Stackhouse) Guiry, in an integrated multi-trophic aquaculture system

  • Bernardo Domingues
  • Maria H. Abreu
  • Isabel Sousa-Pinto


The potential of rearing the red seaweed Mastocarpus stellatus (Stackhouse) Guiry, a carrageenophyte, as a biofilter in a pilot-scale, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) system was investigated. From April to June, M. stellatus, collected from a population in the north of Portugal was cultivated in 1200-L tanks in two consecutive, 4-week experiments with nutrient-enriched waters derived from fish tanks. The stocking density of 3 kg m−2 provided the best yields, ranging from 29.6 g dw m−2 day−1 in April–May to 38.9 g dw m−2 day−1 in June. In the April–May period, a linear increase in the yields was found at higher densities. M. stellatus growth rates during April–May period did not diverge significantly between stocking densities and reached a mean relative growth rate of 3.09 ± 0.90 % day−1 in April–May and 4.02 ± 0.43 % day−1 in June at 3 kg m−2. In June, the increase in stocking density negatively affected the growth rates (3 < 2 < 1 kg m−2). M. stellatus used ammonium (TAN) as the main N source and the nutrient uptake efficiency was found to be similar between stocking densities, but highest in June. The seaweeds removed an average of 66.29 ± 3.57 μmol TAN L–1 in May and 84.49 ± 4.00 μmol TAN L–1 in June, which corresponded to the mitigation of 43.19 ± 1.61 and 49.00 ± 1.59 % of NH3 from the system, respectively. This study demonstrated the potential to effectively cultivate M. stellatus in an IMTA system.


IMTA Growth rates Yields Mastocarpus Rhodophyta, nutrient uptake Stocking density 



The authors acknowledge the help in all the field work given by Tiago Santos and the availability of the aquaculture company A. Coelho & Castro, Lda for the IMTA studies. This work was supported by FEDER funds through the program COMPETE (project PTDC/CTM/100076/2008).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernardo Domingues
    • 1
  • Maria H. Abreu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Isabel Sousa-Pinto
    • 1
  1. 1.ALGAplus, Produção e Comercialização de Algas e seus derivados Lda (ALGA+)AngejaPortugal
  2. 2.CIIMAR/CIMAR, and Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences University of PortoPortoPortugal

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