Aquasoja has been supporting PhD students since 2014. As part of the SANFEED Doctoral Program, the company works with the brightest new researchers to help the company improve its fish feed solutions.
Nutraceuticals from marine biorefineries
Bruno Reis is one student in particular. He is conducting promising research, as part of his PhD, entitled “Improving health and growth in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) through fortified nutrition: discovering new nutraceuticals from marine biorefineries.” The main objectives of his thesis are the assessment of the effects of dietary supplementation of different algal extracts rich in different bioactive compounds on fish growth performance, health and oxidative status; and gilthead seabream resistance to pathogens after dietary supplementation with selected algal extracts with known health benefits, focusing on the possible immunomodulatory effects.
Reis’ work is part of project “ValorMar – Integral valorization of marine resources: potential, technological innovation and new applications” (POCI-01-0247-FEDER- 024517, funded by FEDER and COMPETE), one of the company’s flagship projects. ValorMar aims to add value to marine resources, through research, development and demonstration of new products and better productive processes, which can lead to innovative solutions for the creation of new and healthy food and feed products, with more efficient and sustainable technologies. This project involves stakeholders from the food and feed industry, biomedicine, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and aquaculture fields.
Processed animal byproducts
Inês Campos is another student whose PhD thesis is “Processed animal byproducts as sustainable ingredients in diets for European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax)” supported by the project “ANIMAL4AQUA - New range of compound feeds for European seabass with animal ingredients” (POCI-01-0247-FEDER-017610), funded by FEDER and COMPETE with partners as SORGAL, CIIMAR and ICBAS (University of Porto).
The need to search for locally-available, affordable, sustainable and still very nutritious ingredients for aquafeeds derives from the low availability and high price of fishmeal and fish oil. The research conducted in this thesis was based on the fact that the agri-food industry generates large amounts of byproducts that, after proper processing, can become valid fishmeal and fish oil substitutes.
This work resulted in five scientific papers published in international journals and showed that there are multiple agri-food byproducts with great potential as protein sources for seabass due to their nutritional quality and high protein/amino acid digestibility. Using these locally generated byproducts as aquafeed feedstuffs can therefore increase the sustainability of this sector by reducing the use of fishmeal and fish oil from fisheries, and also contribute to a functional circular economy by reintroducing such byproducts into valued production chains.
It is under these principles that AQUASOJA bases its fish feed production. The company fully believe in the nutritional value and overall benefits of land-animal byproducts in aqua feedstuffs. Indeed, some poultry byproducts are already included for some years in of its recipes, namely in the ORANGE products.