Insects as salmon feed
Start date: 1. July 2014
End date: 30. June 2018
Financed by: Norwegian Research Council
In cooperation with: NMBU/BioForsk/UiB-SVT/NILF/UoS/NIUG/UAB/GIFAS/EWOS/Protix
The project is lead by: NIFES

Background

Insects are outstandingly powerful organisms that have the ability to upgrade less favorable organic resources to highly nutritious feed ingredients. The potential for insect meal as a suitable protein source for Atlantic salmon has been demonstrated by NIFES. AquaFly aims to develop novel insect meal and oil ingredients for Atlantic salmon diets contributing with essential nutrients to sustain fish health and welfare. To achieve this goal, tailoring of insect meal nutrient composition towards Atlantic salmon nutrient requirements, such as marine omega-3 fatty acids, is required. All raw materials contribute with undesirable substances, and AquaFly will monitor the undesirable substances including pathogens in the whole production chain from insect feed to fish fillet. Particularly, arsenic and cadmium concentrations is a challenge in some macro algae, and increased knowledge of the transfer efficiency from waste stream to insects to feed ingredients to fish fillet is necessary for evaluating macro algae and tunicate waste as relevant substrates for insect lipid and protein production. The most promising macro algae and tunicate will be selected as insect feed based availability from wild stocks and aquaculture, nutrient composition and concentrations of undesirable components. AquaFly will increase knowledge of the potential of a new insect species, Kelp fly, for commercial fish feed ingredient production. Main AquaFly end points to assess the potential of insect raw materials for Atlantic salmon are the impact of maximum inclusion of insect protein and lipids on production of robust fish, feasibility of insect ingredients as an industry for aquaculture, and sustainability in a broad sense, as well as ethical aspects of insects in the seafood production chain.

The purpose of AquaFly is to develop and utilize novel safe and healthy raw materials not used directly for food as ingredients for salmon feed that contributes to the goal of a sustainable aquaculture.

Objective

AquaFly will investigate insects as a possible safe and healthy ingredient in future feeds. Farmed Atlantic salmon need nutrients to cover their minimum
requirements, and the goal is to find new sustainable ingredients that contribute with as much as possible with the nutrients the fish need. A main aim is to study the possibility to tailor insect meal as an ingredient in a sustainable feed, covering the nutrient requirements and secure production of robust fish. The marine omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are essential for fish health, and it is an aim in the project to optimize the fatty acid composition of insect lipids to contribute with omega-3 to cover the Atlantic salmon requirement.
Today, insect meal is produced from larvae of Black soldier fly with a protein composition that has been shown to be highly suitable for Atlantic salmon. In AquaFly we will test if black soldier fly can produced on marine seaweed as a substrate. Also the insects species Kelp fly, which naturally grow on marine seaweed, will be investigated to produce safe and nutritious ingredients for fish feed.
We have previously shown that insect meal is a good protein source for Atlantic salmon, which also may give environmental benefits. AquaFly will study in depth the impact on sustainability of using insects as feed ingredients for farmed Atlantic salmon. Sustainability will be assessed in environmental, social and economical perspectives.

AquaFly will also identify possible risks by using insect raw materials for fish feed by documenting undesirable substances and pathogens in the whole production chain from the food for the insects, insect raw materials, fish feed and Atlantic salmon fillets. All feed ingredients may contain undesirable substances, and documentation of these are essential to evaluate food safety.

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