Protein concentrates for aquaculture

To develop new protein concentrates (lupins, beans, peas and rapeseeds, all from eu crops) for use in aquafeeds. These protein sources will be obtained by novel physical methods (micronisation and air classification) and their efficacy validated in trout and gilthead sea bream.

A shift towards a lower usage of finite marine-harvested resources is clearly identified as a major sustainability challenge facing the EU aquaculture industry. Nowadays, aquaculture feeds are mostly based on fish meal as protein sources. Over recent years, a great research effort has been devoted to the evaluation of various vegetable meals with crude protein content of 20 to 50%. Despite the great advances achieved in this area in recent years, a high replacement level of dietary fish meal still elicits a reduced growth performance and feed efficiency in most EU farmed fish species, such as Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, gilthead sea bream, turbot or cod. Major constraints identified in such vegetable ingredients are: low protein content, an essential amino acid imbalance, the presence of anti-nutritional factors (ANFs), lower palatability and a high fibre level. In this context, the aim of this project is to develop new crude protein sources for aquaculture feeds, based on vegetable protein concentrates obtained from EU crops, in order to replace the usage of fish meal, usually obtained from non-EU countries at high economical and environmental costs. The project will undertake activities on the following axis: 1. TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT OF NEW VEGETABLE PROTEIN CONCENTRATES (lupins, faba beans, peas and rapeseed, all from the EU crops) for usage in aquaculture feeds. The vegetable protein concentrates will be obtained by a physical method based on two phases: i) micronisation or milling up to approximately 30 micron particle size, and ii) particle size air classification at micron scale to separate the protein-concentrate fraction from the starch-concentrated one. 2. Detailed ANALYTICAL & PROCESS CHARACTERISATION of the new vegetable protein concentrates. Besides a classical proximate composition, such characterisation will be particularly focused on amino acid profiles, energy value, ANF levels (lectins, saponins, alkaloids, protease inhibitors, phytate). Moreover, the new ingredients will also be assessed in terms of feed processing criteria (particle size, mixability, bulk density, susceptibility to micotoxins contamination, expansion upon extrusion, oil absorption, pellet durability and pellet water stability). 3. Assessment of the BIOLOGICAL EFFICACY of the new vegetable protein concentrates in fish. Given the lack of information on how these new protein concentrates affect the growth performance of fish, the digestibility of the nutrients, the immune status and fillet quality, several experimental trials will be undertaken to assess such criteria. Rainbow trout and gilthead bream will be used as models for fresh and salt water production systems.
Project ID: 
5 021
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
1 360 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Aquaculture technology
Market Area: 
Fishing, Sea Food and Farming

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.