California Sea Grant funded 19 new research projects led by researchers and graduate students that will take place over the next one to two years.
One of the granted projects is “Converting under-utilized microalgal co-product into value-added ingredient for cost-viable, fish-free aquafeed for rainbow trout” led by Pallab Sarker and Anne Kapuscinski, University of California Santa Ana.
In this project, researchers aim to develop a new protein meal by processing under-utilized microalgal co-products that are leftover from oil extraction in existing facilities. They will develop a new aquafeed formula by combining protein-rich microalgal co-product with another oil-rich microalga to fully replace fishmeal and fish oil for rainbow trout feeds.
The project will determine the extrusion and enzymatic process of microalgal co-product; levels of nutrients and anti-nutrients in a co-product meal; digestibility and growth; human health-promoting omega-3 in trout flesh; and water pollution consequences and economic evaluation of the experimental feeds.
Researchers said that this project will help improve the sustainability of trout production, while lowering the cost of feeding trout and potentially improving the nutrition values of farmed trout. The outcome will directly contribute to more environmentally sound diets with no fishmeal and fish oil, and economically sustainable use of under-utilized resources and will directly benefit aquaculture operations, public hatcheries, microalgae operation, and feed mills. The results will be shared with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, private and public trout facilities, and conferences.