Zeigler Awarded Funding to Research Live Feeds Replacements
Providing proper nutrition to newly hatched marine finfish larvae has been a fundamental impediment to the successful expansion of commercial marine aquaculture. Zeigler Bros., Inc. (ZBI) is addressing this need through new research and development efforts funded by a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research Grant (SBIR) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Marine finfish hatcheries have an established dependency on live feeds such as algae, rotifers and Artemia. Culturing live feeds is an intensive process requiring considerable labor, infrastructure and capital. Live feeds also present numerous problems including an inevitable biosecurity threat to the hatchery, highly variable nutritional profiles and over-dependence on a limited natural resource in regards to Artemia. These factors can contribute to relatively low hatchery survival rates.
Development of quality manufactured diets capable of replacing live feeds can eliminate these challenges while ensuring more consistent and accurate nutrition is delivered to marine finfish during the most critical early stages of their lifecycle. However, manufacturing effective feeds for various species of marine finfish larvae has proven to be a difficult task and is a major reason why hatcheries continue to rely on live feeds.
Utilizing the funding provided by NOAA’s SBIR grant, ZBI is studying the nutritional requirements of newly hatched marine finfish while simultaneously exploring creative manufacturing methods in pursuit of producing a superior alternative to live feeds.
ZBI has an extensive history of specialization and innovation in addressing unique nutritional requirements for the aquaculture industry. The company pioneered the development of complete hatchery feeds for the shrimp farming industry and is now leveraging this knowledge and experience toward this new and important project with the hope that it can assist the successful expansion of marine finfish aquaculture in the US and abroad.
Of the 116 proposals presented to NOAA for consideration, ZBI was one of only 18 projects awarded funding. Upon successful completion of the Phase I grant, ZBI will be eligible to pursue additional research assistance through larger Phase II SBIR grants which support continued efforts to advance the work accomplished through the Phase I funding.