August 5, 2015


New fish feed research centre up in Norway



Research into fish feed is getting an added boost with the 30-million-krone (US$3.7-million) grant awarded to the newly established Aquafeed Technology Centre (ATC) by the state agency Research Council of Norway.


Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, managing director of the food research institute Nofima, which initiated the establishment of the ATC together with the University of Bergen, Uni Research and the University of Nottingham, said the cash grant would help make the centre become a full reality, adding that actual research would probably start as early as next year.


The ATC will be located at the West Coast city of Bergen, which has a strong research environment with 80 years of experience in the processing of biological raw materials from the sea.


Fylling-Jensen said the existing research facilities in Bergen have been adapted to the development of the Norwegian seafood industry. "This [grant] award will allow a new and necessary adaptation to the development", he added.


Mari Moren, director of research at Nofima's department of nutrition and feed technology, said the new centre "will be a national independent research tool within feed technology".


"New knowledge in this field will benefit feed manufacturers and the health of fish, and form the basis for an improved use of the currently used marine raw materials", he said.


Moren said more knowledge is needed to be able to exploit new raw materials in the manufacture of fish feed.


The nature of fish feed has undergone a change. The contents of feed were previously derived primarily from the sea, whereas now most come from the land.


According to a report published by Nofima in 2014, at least 70% of the raw materials in feed come from the plant kingdom. Most of these raw materials, such as soy protein concentrate, maize protein and rapeseed oil, have been included in salmon feeds for the past many years, the report said.


"Aquafeed will provide scientists with new tools that can contribute to understanding how the processing of modern raw materials and feed affect the ingredients and the final product",  Moren said.


Upgrades to the centre's infrastructure, according to a release from Nofima, may result in four research platforms. These are to: 

  • develop and optimise ingredients of high nutritional and technological quality;
  • separate new bioactive components, remove toxic components and develop functional ingredients with added value;
  • carry out research and development of fish feed, based on extrusion and agglomeration technology (processing and forming of the products); and
  • characterise the ingredients and end products.

Nofima said the Aquafeed Technology Centre intends to purchase 30 equipment units over a period of three years, which is the period required to establish the infrastructure. Research, however, may start next year, it added.

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