Salmon feed. Image: Rob Fletcher.

Aqua ideas dominate feed challenge

Six initiatives that could help to revolutionise the aqua feed industry have made the 10-strong shortlist for the Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge.

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Nutreco, Feed Tech Challenge

The competition was launched in a bid to find breakthrough solutions in the areas of nutrition against antimicrobial resistance; feed-to-farm efficiency; and young animal nutrition.

Forty-five potential solutions were put forward for appraisal and the ten best – which were recently announced – include the following six that might have applications to the aquaculture industry:

  • Knip Bio, a US company which has developed a series of naturally occurring microbes that convert low-cost feedstock into premium, nutritious, single-cell proteins laden with pigment-enhancing carotenoids to produce healthier, more vibrant fish.
  • eFishery, which is based in Indonesia and has developed a machine which feeds fish or shrimp automatically, sensing their appetite and adjusting the amount of feed given accordingly.
  • MicroSynbiotiX, which is developing cost-effective oral vaccines using genetically modified microalgae to combat diseases and infections in aquaculture.
  • LifeBioencapsulation, which develops solutions to microencapsulate functional molecules and microorganisms in order to increase their efficacy in case of oral administration via aqua feeds.
  • Hexafly, an Irish firm that has developed a technology to produce Hermetia illucens (black soldier fly), as an ingredient for animal nutrition and aqua feeds.
  • EKO GEA, a Slovenian company that has developed a method of freeing up all available target compounds Ascophyllum nodosum marine algae, turning it into an exceptional and versatile prebiotic tool for use in animal nutrition and aqua feeds.
Amy Novogratz, director of Aqua-Spark.

Amy Novogratz, director of Aqua-Spark, the Dutch investment firm that specialises in sustainable aquaculture initiatives which helped launch eFishery, told Fish Farming Expert: “We are thrilled that eFishery has been shortlisted. Their technology is proven within Indonesia, in saving farmers up to 24% in feed each cycle. But accessing much more extensive testing through the Nutreco challenge would be hugely valuable for them.

“In addition, feed is one of the biggest challenges in sustainable aquaculture and is going to take multiple approaches and innovating together to solve. We see a lot of advantages for eFishery joining the Nutreco Feed Challenge Network, including potential collaborations developing from it and their own vision and scale potentially evolving from this experience. Aqua-spark are big believers in networks and collaboration.”

Next steps

The 10 finalists have now been invited to take part in the Challenge Event, which takes take place on 22-23 February in the Netherlands. During this event, an international jury will select a winner, who will then receive a validation trial at one of Nutreco’s research farms.