September 1, 2008


US study explores Omega-3 loaded algae in chicken feed

A researcher from Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is exploring the use of Omega-3 loaded algae to be used in chicken feed after he discovered a way to grow omega-3 fatty acids by using a biodiesel byproduct.


Wen Zhiyou claimed that algae grown in crude glycerol could be used as an animal feed as it would mimic a process in nature in which fish, the most common source of omega-3 fatty acid for humans, eat the algae and then retain the healthful compounds in their bodies.


Wen said the results so far have been promising.


The fish fed the algae had significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, Wen said.


He and his colleagues are trying to determine the fate of omega 3s after they enter the food supply chain when fed to chickens. 


If workable, his research could soon open a way in which producers could enrich their animals with Omega-3 feeds at a low cost.


This is because high energy prices have led to an increase in biodiesel production, which saw an increase of crude glycerol being produced in the market, Wen said.


Chemical analysis has shown that the algae biomass composition grown from glycerol has the same quality as the commercial algae product, said Wen.

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