Ragworm and other aquafeed alternatives

Aquafeed is a major topic related to sustainability. The article describes several novel innovations: development of aquafeed from the drumstick tree, using hydrolysates from poultry byproducts for shrimp and fish feed, and the seaweed that is eaten by the ragworm, which is then used as feed for salmon in aquaculture.
19 August, 2022
By Bert Popping

Early in August, we reported about the development project for low-cost aquatic feed. This week, there are several additional good news. For one, a research team evaluated the nutritional, phytochemical and biochemical composition of raw seed from the “Drumstick Tree” for Aquaculture feeds. This tree (taxonomical name Moringa Oleifera) is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree of the family Moringaceae, native to the Indian subcontinent. The researchers concluded that “the Moringa plant can be explored as a viable supplement for fish which will help to reduce the cost of feed production in aquaculture and increase the profit of fish farmers and feed manufacturers.”

Another project is that of the Norwegian Centre for Plankton Technology, called the ragworm project. And this crosslinks with the seaweed initiatives we reported about earlier this week. Researchers from NCPT had the idea of feeding ragworms with locally cultivated seaweeds. The ragworms themselves could then serve as sustainable feed for the farmed salmon. The seaweed does not contain sufficient fat and can therefore not directly be fed to the farmed salmon. But by passing it through the humble ragworm first, a high omega-3 feeding source in form of the ragworm is obtained. The project is being funded by the Trøndelag Regional Research Fund.

And there have been more initiatives and more research on aquafeed alternatives. This time they are based on by-products from the poultry industry. A research group from Brazil describes the use of protein hydrolysates from poultry by-products and swine liver as an alternative dietary protein source for the Pacific white shrimp. Brazil is one of the largest poultry producers globally, therefore, large quantities of poultry by-products are generated through slaughter that can be reused in aquaculture feed. Similar research was performed, also for the use of poultry by-products, but for the use in fish feed by the group of Matthew Dawson [NOTE: this publication is not open-access]. They evaluated the effect of adding the hydrolysed poultry protein to the feed of Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata) and arrived at the conclusion that poultry by-product meal is a promising alternative protein source for sustainable diet development in Black Sea Bass.

To develop such solutions, a deep understanding of the aquaculture industry and its needs is required, as are innovation skills and engineering skills. Sometimes, these skills are not available directly in the industry segment. And this is where the EIT Food-funded AGAPE project comes in. Its AI-based skill-matching platform will help to find and/or build these skills.


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