The project on new feeds for aquaculture based on the functional properties of microalgae

new feeds for aquaculture

The project on new feeds for aquaculture based on the functional properties of microalgae

It is well known that the intensive exploitation of extractive fishing threatens the survival of important fish species and is forcing governments to impose technical stoppages, while the profitability of fishing fleets decreases and owners see their business at danger.

Microalgae a sustainable alternative

Commercially produced microalgae can be a sustainable ingredient in fish feed. In recent years it have been developed concepts for the cultivation, harvesting, drying and storage of two types of microalgae that are rich in proteins, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

Traditionally fishmeal, which is one of the important ingredients in fish feed, is made from industrial fish such as sprat and sand eel that are not suitable for human consumption. As a result of increased production of fish feed for the growing aquaculture industry is becoming environmentally and economically unsustainable to continue this practice.

The search for sustainable alternatives to fishmeal, among other things, has focused on microalgae because they contain almost all the nutrients that fish need. However, commercial production of microalgae through photosynthesis has proven to be costly, and new methods are needed for microalgae to become an inexpensive feed ingredient for fish.

Project on new feeds based on microalgae

The Imida develops a project to produce natural aquaculture feed supplemented with marine microalgae. It is The Instituto Murciano de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario y Alimentario (Imida), dependent on the Consejería de Agua, Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca, who is developing a project on new feeds for aquaculture based on the functional properties of microalgae, in collaboration with the Centro Tecnológico de la Energía y del Medio Ambiente (Cetenma), funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

The objective with this project is to produce natural aquaculture feed supplemented with high quality marine microalgae, in order to obtain improvements in its production and nutritional and sensory quality.

Within the framework of this project, a facility was recently started up for the cultivation of microalgae, which occupies an area of 100 square meters, located in the Marine Aquaculture Station of Imida, in San Pedro del Pinatar, to serve the development of future aquaculture nutrition products.

The company Buggypower is dedicated to the production of microalgae in closed and highly controlled systems, using a technology that allows you to obtain from them biomass of high quality valorizable.

Recently a conference was held at the Marine Aquaculture Station to transfer research results ‘Microalgae in aquaculture feed’, which was attended by representatives of all the companies in the sector in the Region.

Vicente José Pascual, Director of Imida,  highlighted the work carried out in recent years by the Marine Aquaculture Group of Imida, on the incorporation of microalgae in the diet for fish.

In addition to the above project, highlighted another entitled “Decrease in feed production costs and the environmental impact associated with the cultivation of sea bream. Incorporation of microalgae in the diet and establishment of optimal food distribution strategies”, co-financed by the Ministry of Agriculture and European funds.

Juana Mulero, Director General of Agrofood Innovation, emphasized that “the use of microalgae as a basis for the development of functional additives or feeds can respond to two current needs of the fish consumption market: aquaculture fish as a natural product, of high quality and with functional properties”.