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Doktoranden Niklas Warwasblri intervjuad av radio.
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Alternative Feed Ingredients for Finfish Aquaculture, Sustainable marine raw materials and their implications on fish health and welfare

Research project
Active research
Project period
2018 - 2023
Project owner
SWEMARC

Short description

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector this decade and crucial for supplying the growing human population with food. Today, half the fish we consume originates from aquaculture. Salmonids, like the Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout, are carnivorous and their natural diet consists of other fish. Traditionally, their diets therefore contained high levels of fishmeal and fish oil. These ingredients become increasingly unsustainable and as a result, modern diets include high amounts of plant-based substitutes. However, most substitutes are potential human grade food, often display inferior nutrient profiles, and contain antinutritional factors, which can have negative effects on fish welfare. The my aim is therefor to identify and test novel sustainable feed ingredients to improve feed sustainability and animal welfare.

To realize the aim of my PhD project I am

  1. Identifying alternative and underutilized raw materials with commercial potential
  2. Formulating adequate feeds by incorporating the novel ingredients while replacing less sustainable ingredients
  3. Carrying out comprehensive feeding trials
  4. Evaluating the suitability of our ingredients from an animal welfare perspective by investigating parameters related to intestinal health and digestion, the immune system, appetite regulation, growth and stress
  5. Carrying out outreach activities to initiate dialog and awareness about our progress

I focus especially on marine ingredients as:

  • The oceans represent 90% of our planets biosphere, yet only five percent of the food we consume originates form the oceans indicating a massive potential for blue growth.
  • They generally comprise preferable fatty acid and amino acid profiles for marine finfish aquaculture (compared to untreated terrestrial ingredients)
  • There is often a high potential for sustainable production especially regarding industry by products, primary producers, microorganisms and filter feeders

In our most recent experiment, we focused on a novel strain of marine yeast, which we cultivated on waste products from the herring industry. Thus, we utilized a waste product to create a biomass especially suitable for marine fish. Our preliminary results show that the feed based on marine yeast performed equally well as standard feeds while being economically and ecologically more sustainable.