Cod research is in full swing

In Ísafjörður, there is a great boom in research related to cod farming and it has been decided to hold a meeting on new and extensive projects that have received funding recently. The Minister of Fisheries, Einar K. Guðfinnsson, will chair the meeting, which will begin on Wednesday 21 June. at 9:30

In Ísafjörður, the emphasis in aquaculture is on the physiology of cod and then first and foremost on sex cod and the effect of light control on the growth, sexual maturity and quality of farmed cod. The focus is also on genetic factors that can be linked to physiological factors such as product growth and quality.

Four new research projects related to the development of industrialized cod farming in experimental fish farms in Ísafjarðardjúpur have recently received funding from domestic and foreign funds.

The projects will, among other things, study the effects of light control and the main goal of these studies is to delay or prevent premature puberty, which is a major problem with cod farming. The total turnover of these projects, including the contribution of participants in the projects, is just over ISK 300 million and the turnover (scope) for the west is a total of ISK 103 million. Grants from research funds for the projects amount to a total of ISK 155 million, of which ISK 50 million goes directly to the operation of the projects in Ísafjörður. In the cod fishery in Westfjords, there is a big difference in funding from the European Union, which is a total of 93 The share of the Icelandic participants in the grant is significant, or about 34 Two cod farming producers with fish farms in Álftafjörður are taking part in this project, i.e. Hraðfrystihúsið Gunnvör hf and Álfsfell ehf.

Sampling from the dockBlood samples taken from cod
Worked on sampling from fish farms in ÁlftafjörðurDr. Þorleifur Ágústsson takes blood samples from live farmed cod

Due to this extensive development of cod farming research, Jón Gunnar Schram, MS in fisheries science, has been hired to work at the Fisheries Research Institute in Ísafjörður. Jón Gunnar will start work on July 1, but in addition to him, Dr. Þorleifur Ágústsson at IFL's aquaculture department in Ísafjörður.

Rannveig Björnsdóttir, head of the aquaculture department at IFL and lecturer at the University of Akureyri, is, together with Þorleif, an instructor in a research-related master's program that deals with cod farming research in Ísafjarðardjúpur. The role of the student is the development of methods and measurements of the effect of light control on the growth of cod in collaboration with Dr. Björn Þránd Björnsson Professor at the University of Gothenburg. Björn Þrándur, is one of Europe's leading experts in the field of fish physiology and has also been hired part-time at IFL, and he will take part in IFL's policy in this field.

See the agenda of the meeting


Master project on improved results in halibut farming completed

On Friday, June 9, 2006, Hildigunnur Rut Jónsdóttir defended her research project for a master's degree in aquaculture studies from the Natural Resources Department of the University of Akureyri. Rutar's project was entitled "The use of complementary bacteria to control the microbial flora before and after hatching of halibut larvae"

The project was carried out in collaboration between Fiskey ehf., IFL and the University of Akureyri and Ruth investigated the possibility of using additive bacteria for use in the early stages of halibut farming. The production of halibut juveniles is a delicate process and there are usually large losses in the early stages of farming. This often happens without obvious explanations, but research suggests that the composition of the bacterial flora can have a decisive effect on the performance of halibut larvae in initial feeding.

The results of the study indicate that the performance of eggs and larvae is better when the diversity of bacterial flora is greater. The results also indicate that the mixture of supplementary bacteria used has a positive effect on the proportion of so-called gapers, which is a malformation that occurs at the stage of the larval stage of larvae. Treatment of halibut larvae (artemia) with additive bacteria appeared to have a positive effect on the quality of fodder animals by increasing the diversity of the bacterial flora's species composition. The results of experiments with different concentrations of disinfectants in the treatment of halibut larvae indicated that a lower concentration of disinfectant would give even better results in terms of larval performance.

Rutur's supervisor was Rannveig Björnsdóttir, head of the aquaculture department at IFL and lecturer at the University of Akureyri.

The opponent was Dr. Gunnsteinn Haraldsson, director of research-related studies at the University of Iceland School of Medicine.


New European project at IFL: QALIBRA-Heilsuvogin

Recently, the first meeting of a new EU project called "Quality of Life - Integrated Benefit and Risk Analysis" was held in the Netherlands. Web-based tool for assessing food safety and health benefits ”abbreviated QALIBRA but has been given the name Heilsuvogin in Icelandic.

This is a three-and-a-half-year project funded by the EU. IFL manages the project and the project manager is Eva Yngvadóttir, a chemical engineer at IFL's Research Division. Participants in the project are, in addition to Icelanders, from the UK, the Netherlands, Greece, Portugal and Hungary.

The aim of the QALIBRA project is to develop quantitative methods to assess both the positive and negative effects of food ingredients on human health. These methods will be presented in a computer program that will be open and accessible to all stakeholders on the World Wide Web.

The project has already been introduced and was presented at the SEAFOODplus conference which has just ended in Tromsø, Norway, and it will also be presented at a large conference on food safety which will be held in Budapest, Hungary on 11-14 June. The project's website will be launched soon.

For further information, contact Eva Yngvadóttir, tel. 530 8600 or


Control of the cooling chain for discussion in Bonn

A two-day conference on food refrigeration management was recently held in Bonn, Germany. Guðrún Ólafsdóttir, food scientist at IFL among the lecturers. Innovations on labeling and measurements for sensitive foods that indicate the temperature and time load of a product were introduced, among other things.

The idea behind Cold Chain Management is not entirely new. Foods, medicines and other products that need to be stored chilled or frozen within very strict temperature limits, for example, fall under this category.

Temperature and time control are the most important factors in ensuring the quality and shelf life of a delicate product such as fish. With increased transport and longer distribution routes, there is an increasing emphasis on ensuring the low temperature of goods.

The conference discussed, among other things, the development of microbial prediction models and "Smart label" labeling to predict the shelf life and safety of food. For the consumer, markings are called so-called TTI (time temperature indicators) which can provide information on the temperature and time load of a product and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) markings are gaining ground.

Guðrún presented research related to Ph.D. Her project at the Bonn Conference on the use of an electric nose as a rapid measurement method for assessing the quality of fish. Conference proceedings were published with the presentations made.

Further information: Guðrún Ólafsdóttir, tel: 530 8647

Peer-reviewed articles

Complete genome sequence of the hyperthermophilic and piezophilic archaeon Thermococcus barophilus Ch5, capable of growth at the expense of hydrogenogenesis from carbon monoxide and formate

We report here the complete sequence and fully manually curated annotation of the genome of strain Ch5, a new member of the piezophilic hyperthermophilic species Thermococcus barophilus.

Link to article


A group from Whole Foods Market visits IFL

Four representatives from the Whole Foods Market visited the Sjávarútvegshúsið this morning, to learn about Icelandic fish, research on seafood and how Icelanders manage their fisheries.

The Fisheries House has been quite hospitable recently, but it has only been a few days since members of the Marks & Spencer retail chain in the UK visited. Hopefully this is a sign of growing interest abroad in Icelandic fish and seafood and the fact that fish is not only good and healthy, but research shows, among other things that IFL has done, that there is unusually little unwanted substance in the fish caught is here by land.

Whole Foods Market the retail chain is probably the largest of its kind, but the WFM website states that the chain operates 155 stores in the United States and the United Kingdom. The retail chain specializes in the sale of "natural" and organically grown foods.

Baldvin Jónsson, marketing specialist and project manager at Áform, took care of the group's Iceland trip from WFM, but Baldvin has worked on marketing Iceland and Icelandic products for a long time. Among other things, he plays a major role in the success of the Fun and Food festival, which is now held here every year with remarkable results.


Marketers and technicians from Marks Spencer and Coldwater in a presentation at Sjávarútvegshúsið

This week, four employees of the companies Marks & Spencer and Coldwater in the UK were on a trip to Iceland to get acquainted with the fishing industry, fish processing, companies and research related to seafood in Iceland. The four people were happy after a visit to Sjávarútvegshúsið this morning.

Several experts from IFL gave a short presentation of the research conducted here. Sjöfn Sigurgísladóttir started by welcoming guests and then told them about IFL's activities and how they were constantly working to increase the value of Icelandic seafood. Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir then talked about monitoring unwanted substances in seafood and recently introduced report on the material that IFL worked on with the support of the Ministry of Fisheries. It attracted their considerable attention how little unwanted substances are found in Icelandic fish, as stated in the aforementioned report.

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, then discussed a project called  Attitudes and fish consumption of young people: Improving the image of seafood. Kolbrún said, among other things, that surveys show that fish consumption seems to be declining, especially among young people, and that this is a cause for concern. The guests agreed and had a similar story to tell about Britain. Finally, Sigurjón Arason reported on projects about processing forecast and talked about the need for traceability.

Finally, representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries explained how the fisheries management system works in Iceland and also mentioned other issues such as eco-labeling, but according to the guests, consumers in the UK ask various questions about the origin and background of the food available there and therefore necessary for retailers to have reliable information at hand. It would have been the purpose of their trip to Iceland to gather data.

Those who visited Sjávarútvegshúsið this morning were Andrew Mallison, M&S Technical Manager, Andrew Richy, NPD M&S Technical Manager, Cris Barker, Coldwater's Technical Manager in Grimsby and Andy Beeken, M & S's Sales Representative at Coldwater.


Ingenious use of capelin oil - Article from IFL in the latest issue. Ægis

In the latest issue. of Ægis magazine, there is an interesting article by Margrét Bragadóttir, a food scientist at IFL, about possible ways to use capelin oil to an increasing extent for human consumption, for example in mayonnaise, salad dressings, etc.

In his article suggests Margrét Among other things, capelin is the fish species that has been caught in by far the largest amount in Iceland, but the value of this amount has so far been small compared to the amount caught. The capelin is mainly used for smelting in fishmeal factories for the production of fishmeal and fish oil, which has mainly been used in animal feed.

This has been a thorn in the side of many, because it is clear that if it is possible to increase the proportion of capelin products that go directly to human consumption, it would greatly increase the value of the capelin catch that is caught.

Read the article

Further information:

phone: 8612661 / email:


Mens Sana and Corpore Sano

As many have no doubt noticed, there has been an unusual amount of cyclists on streets and sidewalks all over the country lately and the most unlikely people have been seen in the process. Both spring has finally arrived, but the Bike to Work campaign also took place from 3 to 16 May. IFL did not give up. 

Although this is not a formal competition between workplaces, a rather benevolent assessment, workplaces were still classified according to the number of employees and figures were compiled on their performance.  

IFL competed in the workplace category with 20 - 69 employees and a third of the employees, or 22 out of 60, took part in the campaign, which must be considered quite good. According to statistics, the 22 cycled a total of almost 1,200 kilometers during the campaign. 

The picture above shows some of those who participated on behalf of IFL: Left: María, Þóra, Björn, Helga, Hélène, Birna, Ernst, Ragnar, Rósa, Anna, Heiða, Judith and Eyjólfur. The picture lacks a few warriors, as 22 were registered for the competition, as stated earlier.


Doctoral defense

On June 16, 2006 at At 13:00, Sigrún Guðmundsdóttir, a biologist at IFL, will defend her doctoral dissertation "Listeria monocytogenes, from humans, food and food processing plants in Iceland – Molecular typing, adhesion and virulence testing ”in the Celebration Hall of the University of Iceland.

Opponents will be dr. Bjarnheiður Guðmundsdóttir from the University of Iceland and dr. Marie-Louise Danielsson-Tham, Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU.

Sigrún's dissertation deals with research on Listeria monocytogenes in human beings, food and food processing in Iceland. Audits were carried out on processing plants that produce smoked salmon and boiled shrimp. L. monocytogenes the isolated strains were typed by molecular method (PFGE) and compared. Also, all strains that had been isolated from humans were typed and compared with food establishments. In addition, the adhesion and infectivity of selected strains were examined.

Sigrún's supervisors were Már Kristjánsson, an infectious disease doctor, and dr. Karl G. Kristinsson, professor at the University of Iceland and on the doctoral committee were dr. Ágústa Guðmundsdóttir professor at the University of Iceland, dr. Haraldur Briem, Epidemiologist, dr. Hjörleifur Einarsson professor at the University of Akureyri and dr. Sjöfn Sigurgísladóttir CEO of IFL.

Sigrún Guðmundsdóttir was born in 1966. She graduated from MR in 1986, a BS degree in biology from the University of Iceland in 1991 and an MS degree from Heriott-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland in 1992. She has been a specialist at IFL since 1995 and began her doctoral studies at HÍ 2000.