The Aquafeed Technology Centre has been awarded NOK 30 million ($3.7 million) by the Research Council of Norway, for research into fish feed. The centre will contribute to knowledge about how raw materials in the fish feed of the future can be used in the best possible way during preprocessing.
The Aquafeed Technology Centre, which will be based in Bergen, is a joint initiative with the Norwegian food research institute Nofima, the University of Bergen, Uni Research and the University of Nottingham. The funding package means that the initiative can become a reality.
“This is marvellous news! Further growth of the Norwegian aquaculture industry requires that we have access to new, high-quality raw materials for fish feed. This award to Aquafeed means that we can carry the research forwards,” said Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, Managing Director of Nofima.
The nature of fish feed is undergoing rapid change. The contents of feed have previously been derived primarily from the sea, whereas now most comes from the land. A report published by Nofima in 2014 showed that at least 70 per cent of the raw materials in feed come from the plant kingdom. Most of these raw materials, such as soy protein concentrate, maize protein and rapeseed oil, have been included in salmon feeds for the past 15 years.
However, more knowledge is needed to be able to exploit new raw materials in feed optimally, believes Mari Moren, Director of Research at the Department of Nutrition and Feed Technology at Nofima.
“Aquafeed will provide scientists with new tools that can contribute to understanding how the processing of modern raw materials and feed affect the ingredients and the final product.
\"The centre will be a national independent research tool within feed technology. New knowledge in this field will benefit feed manufacturers and the health of fish, and form the basis for an improved use of the currently used marine raw materials,” said Moren.
Research is expected to start early next year and will initially concentrate on:
• development and optimisation of ingredients of high nutritional and technological quality
• separation of new bioactive components, removal of toxic components and development of functional ingredients with added value
• research and development of fish feed based on extrusion and agglomeration technology (processing and forming of the products)
• characterisation of ingredients and end products.