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Microalgae mix can replace fish oil in seabream

Monday, February 22, 2021

Early results from the “Alga4Fuel&Aqua” research project, in which BioMar Hellenic is participating, indicate that a mix of the microalgae species Schizochytrium sp. and Nannochloropsis sp. can fully replace fish oils in seabream feed. 

The project “Utilization of liquid waste in cultivation of microalgae for use in biodiesel and aquafeed production” (Alga4Fuel&Aqua), developed by Biomar Hellenic, the University of Thessaly and GRINCO Industrial S.A., aims to use microalgae in the diet of farmed fish.

Microalgae are a very promising and viable solution that could reduce fish farmers’ dependence on fish oils and have recently drawn strong scientific and business interest. This is largely due to the fact that microalgae are unicellular marine organisms and thus can easily convert either the massive amount of available solar energy or various relatively low-cost nutrients into valuable nutritional ingredients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids. Some species of microalgae are rich in fats and contain higher concentrations of EPA and DHA than fish oils themselves.

A trial on a diet with complete replacement of fish oil with the microalgae mix conducted over 84 days showed that the microalgae mixture can successfully replace fish oil in feed, slightly improving the specific growth rate (SGR) and the feed conversion rate (FCR) in seabream. At the same time, the EPA and DHA content in fillets from seabream fed exclusively on lipids from microalgae was similar to that of fish fed exclusively on fish oil.

Panos Lagos, managing director of BioMar Hellenic, said that “being a company that strives for a sustainable development of global aquaculture, we are convinced that the outcome of a project of this kind can secure greater access for aquaculture to essential marine omega-3 fatty acids.”

As part of the circular economy and to minimize waste in the environment, the project “Alga4Fuel&Aqua” is also investigating the use of byproducts from biofuel production to cultivate microalgae for their subsequent use in aquafeeds.

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