Sustainable marine-based poultry feed alternative gets funding

10-07-2023 | |
Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva

A marine-based alternative to fishmeal is being funded as an alternative circular-produced protein for broilers.

Aquanzo Ltd has received financial support to investigate the feasibility of farming Artemia, a small marine shrimp similar to krill.

Funded by Innovate UK, in collaboration with Agri-EPI Centre and the Scottish Rural College (SRUC), the 2-year project will explore the use of different agricultural by-products to produce Artemia. Scientists will then investigate the nutritional benefits of a broiler chick starter feed on gut health, lifetime growth and performance.

Marine proteins, such as krill, are one of the best sources of nutrients for young farm terrestrial and aquatic animals, but harvesting of marine ingredients from the wild has reached its limit and has a major impact on the environment, and costs have reduced its uses in commercial young animal feeding.

Farming marine protein has the potential to revolutionise the animal feed sector, by combining the best of marine ingredients and farming

Remi Gratacap, Aquanzo CEO

Combining the best of marine ingredients and farming

Aquanzo is developing techniques to farm a new source of marine proteins, Artemia, sustainably, at scale and on land, by combining the best of marine ingredients and farming. It forecasts the production capacity of thousands of metric tonnes of Artemia meal per year per industrial facility.

Remi Gratacap, Aquanzo CEO, said: “Farming marine protein has the potential to revolutionise the animal feed sector by combining the best of marine ingredients (nutritional value, taste and energy) and farming (scalable, controllable, sustainable precision platform).”

He also noted: “Marine protein greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the main contributor to aquaculture environmental impact accentuated by long-distance transport, and the long-term resilience of the sector is dependent on a fragile environmental balance under climate change threat.”

Quantifying sustainability of Artemia

Agri-EPI Centre will provide a lifecycle analysis, measuring exactly how environmentally sustainable the product is at each stage of its development. Sustainability analyst Emily Laskin said: “Using this scientific method for quantifying sustainability we will evaluate the production of Artemia and compare the results to the production of fishmeal. We hope this study will prove Artemia to be an environmentally sustainable source of protein and a valuable part of the solution to the growing challenges faced by the aquaculture industry.”

Dr Jos Houdijk, Head of SRUC’s Monogastric Science Research Centre, who will undertake the feed performance trials on starter broiler feed and following the growth cycle, added: “Following the establishment of its nutritional value, Artemeal provides a great opportunity to bring back into starter diets for broilers the nutritional and functional benefits traditionally derived from the use of fishmeal.”

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Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist