Mohan Kandaswamy, Oriental Aquamarine Biotech


Unreasonable Institute is an international accelerator and investor in high impact entrepreneurs. It is based in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Entrepreneurs from over 60 countries vied for the 25 slots available to attend the 2011 Unreasonable Institute. After conducting over 100 interviews, the Unreasonable team has narrowed it down to 45 exceptional finalists. Now, in a true test of their entrepreneurial mettle, each of these finalists face one final challenge before becoming Unreasonable Fellows: galvanizing the globe to raise the $8,000 it costs to attend the Unreasonable Institute.14 out of the 45 shortlisted entrepreneurs are from India and as part of the partnership between YourStory and Unreasonable Institute we bring you the profiles of these social entrepreneurs.

OAB provides a patented solution for water quality and disease management in the aquaculture industry. The patented product offered is the Nitrifying Bioreactor. Nitrifying Bioreactors are a self-sustaining system that removes Ammonia and Nitrites created in Aquaculture tanks and helps maintain reef quality oligotrophic conditions in aquaculture tanks leading to the production of higher numbers of higher quality, larger and organic seeds & fish. Nitrifying Bioreactors can be used for various aquatic species and for salt-water, fresh-water and brackish water fish species.

The Nitrifying Bioreactor technology for Recirculation Aquaculture Systems has been patented in India (Patent Application No: 828/DEL/2000 of 13.9.2000). The Nitrifying Bioreactor technology for Re-circulating Aquaculture Systems has been patented under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) with international publication no: WO 02/30835 A1 and in other countries like Thailand, Japan, Philippines, South Korea and Indonesia.

Mohan Kandaswamy is the founder and Director of Oriental Aquamarine Biotech India P Limited (OAB). Mohan formed this company to commercialize the Nitrifying Bioreactor Technology developed at the National Centre for Aquatic Animal Health, Cochin. He heads the Commercialization activities of the venture.  He is a BTech from IIT (Kharagpur) and PDGM from IIM (Ahmedabad). He has been running his own consulting firm for over 15 years and has worked on commercialization of several R&D projects across various industries. Mohan speaks to YourStory on his venture and the Unreasonable Institute.

How is your venture trying to create an impact in the society?

Ammonia and Nitrites are produced in aquaculture tanks from the Organic Matter that accumulates in the tank due to leftover feed, fecal matter, and other excretory products. Increase in the levels of Ammonia and Nitrites in the tank causes death of fish and hence has to be removed. Currently this removal is done by continually pumping fresh water into the tank to remove the old water. This practice brings with it many short term and long term problems. A TED Case Study on Shrimp Farming in Thailand illustrates the environmental impact of aquaculture and the devastation caused by improper farming and ultimate destruction of cultivable locations. Internationally this has led to many environment groups lobbying for effecting policies prohibiting import of shrimp from developing countries.

Re-circulating aquaculture systems developed using Oriental Aquamarine’s Nitrifying Bioreactors provide a safe & natural way to remove Ammonia and Nitrites from Aquaculture tanks with the following advantages.

1.           Reduced to no stress in farmed animals as the water is re-circulated within the same tank during the same process

2.           Farmed fish closely resemble naturally grown fish as the process closely replicates reef quality conditions for farming

3.           Aquaculture farms need not be located close to oceans and water bodies

4.           Improvement in surrounding environment

5.           Improved quality of fish produced

6.           Avoiding use of antibiotics

The following parameters can be used to measure this impact:

•            Increase in fish survival rate

•            Increase in rate of growth and the size of fish

•            Better resistance to diseases as vital nutrients and necessary bacteria are maintained

•            Reduction in production cost and running cost.

•            Waste generation is minimal.

•            Reduction in spread of diseases among farms

•            Fish produced using this natural technique is organic.

•            Production efficiency is higher due higher growth rate

•            Allays concerns of side effects of antibiotics used in farming

•            Allaying fears of increased bacterial resistance among bacteria that cause disease in fish

Who is it targeting?

Aquaculture and fisheries industry (Onshore and offshore).

The Global market for fisheries and aquaculture is pegged at 123 Million Tons according to a report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Aquaculture contributes to over 60% of the world’s demand of fish. Global aquaculture has been experiencing rapid and steady growth of around 8% per annum over the last decade and is expected to grow by 50% by 2030.  This translates to a total global industry size of USD 62 Billion a year. This translates roughly to a market of 6-8 Billion USD a year of filtration equipment.

What will it mean for your venture to get shortlisted as the finalist to the unreasonable institute?

-             An independent assessment and validation of our product.

-             An opportunity to promote our technology to an international audience.

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