Hatchery International

News & Views Research Technology
Tunatech touts novel technique to save costs in caviar production

February 3, 2021  By Jean Ko Din

Tunatech now offers a new diagnostic service for early sturgeon sex discrimination. 

In collaboration with aquaFUTURE, the company has developed a new technique in identifying molecular-biological sex tests for three sturgeon species. 

Many commercially relevant fish species, such as sturgeon, have no externally visible sexual dimorphism, which makes female-only breeding in aquaculture more difficult, minimizes the production yield and increases production costs. 

Early sexual identification can significantly decrease costs by increasing the number of females (caviar production) in the production facilities while maintaining a balance of male animals for intensive fattening (meat production) and use in continuous propagation.


The sampling for the company’s research and development was performed in Aquatir, one of the world’s largest modern sturgeon farms. AquaFUTURE took blood, tissue and mucus samples of sexually mature Belugas (huso huso), Russian sturgeons (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) and sterlets (Acipenser ruthenus) with known sex.

These samples were then taken to Tunatech laboratories and performed comprehensive analysis for female and male beluga, sterlet and Russian sturgeon samples. From these analyses female reference data were designed, onto which all other data were mapped.

This novel and customized solution for sex discrimination for multiple sturgeon species at early life stages will be made available in 2021 for a limited number of clients. Based on both laboratory and field experience in analysis, sampling and tagging using a range of products, it has been made possible to provide a customized service package to suit all aquaculture facilities, be they large or small.


Print this page


Stories continue below