Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Major Breakthrough in Aquafeed Research Shows Promise of Soy-Based Feeds

March 12, 2012

ST. LOUIS, March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) announced today feed trial research results that attain a major goal for sustainable marine fish aquaculture: producing farmed marine fish with a wild fish in/farmed fish out (FIFO) ratio of less than 1:1.

The amount of fishmeal and fish oil from wild-caught sources used in farmed fish feed has been a concern for the long-term sustainability and scalability of aquaculture. Marine species, such as salmon, tuna, and yellowtail are higher up the food chain, and require diets comprised mostly of proteins and oils. These are usually in the form of fishmeal and fish oil derived from smaller fish lower on the food chain, such as anchovies and menhaden.

However, these wild fisheries cannot be scaled up to meet the feed demands of a growing global aquaculture industry. Much innovative research has taken place in the past decade to find alternative sources of proteins and oils in an effort to increase the sustainability of aquaculture and reduce pressure on wild forage fisheries.

Over the past five years, U.S. soybean farmers have sponsored a series of feed trials for farmed marine fish to test the use of soy ingredients as a replacement for fishmeal and fish oil. Recent trials conducted by Kampachi Farms in Hawaii, collaborating with the University of Nebraska, have produced farmed carnivorous fish with a FIFO ratio of 0.89:1.

“We’re very excited with this research and the promise it holds for the future of aquaculture,” said Michael Cremer, USSEC’s Technical Director for Global Aquaculture. “Soybeans are particularly rich in nutrients that produce healthy and safe farmed fish, and unlike wild resources, can scale up to help aquaculture meet increased demand for seafood.”

An eight-month feed trial in 2011 tested an experimental diet of 40% soy protein concentrate (SPC) and a 50:50 blend of fish oil and high Omega-3 soy oil against a standard commercial feed traditionally used to raise kampachi (a sashimi-grade Hawaiian yellowtail). With taurine (a non-essential amino acid) added to the SPC diet, the kampachi showed improved growth rates. Also, in controlled taste tests, consumers could not detect any difference from fish raised on a conventional diet.

“Attaining a FIFO of under 1:1 has been the holy grail of marine fish feed research for some time,” said Neil Anthony Sims, President of Kampachi Farms. “We show here that we can produce premium, sashimi-grade fish with a net increase in marine proteins: that is, we produce more fish than our fish eat. This represents a significant step forward for the economics and the ecological efficiencies of marine fish culture. This research is truly the marriage of America’s heartland with her blue horizons.”

This year, Kampachi Farms will run trials to test refined diets with the SPC and soy oil, as well as incorporating a strain of microalgae into these experimental feeds as a natural source of taurine and EPA/DHA (the heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil). Future research will also include a market analysis of the cost effectiveness of these diets.

For more information, visit www.soyaqua.org.

About USSEC – The U.S. Soybean Export Council connects U.S. soybean farmers with opportunities to improve human nutrition, livestock production and aquaculture. This mission is accomplished with a science-based technical foundation and a global network of partnerships including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusiness and agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies. USSEC operates internationally and works with aquaculture programs in different nations to help ensure sustainability and profitability for industry producers. USSEC programs are partially funded by the United Soybean Board (USB).

About USB: USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

About Kampachi Farms -Kampachi Farms is a Kona-based mariculture company focused on expanding the sustainable production of the ocean’s finest fish. Through innovative research and application of the best available science, Kampachi Farms aims to further develop offshore technologies, alternative marine fish diets, and new species for culture to help drive the expansion of responsible mariculture in the U.S., and the world.

Contact: Kelly Coleman
Coleman Communications
(415) 939-4602

SOURCE U.S. Soybean Export Council

Source: PR Newswire