October 27,  2020


Study finds Veramaris algae oil can help produce fish with more omega-3 fatty acids



Omega-3-rich algal oil can serve as an effective alternative to fish oil in the diet of farm-raised juvenile California yellowtail (Seriola dorsalis) without affecting growth or survival, according to a new study.


Led by scientists at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI), the study also revealed that algae oil created by Veramaris can help produce fish with levels of two important omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, roughly three times higher than in fish fed fish oil.


These findings, published in the journal Aquaculture Research, put scientists one step closer to growing healthier and more sustainable seafood by replacing wild-caught fish in aquaculture feed.


"These results show the potential for these species to be reared on fishmeal and fish-oil free diets," said Kevin Stuart, a research scientist at HSWRI and lead author of the study. "More research needs to be done to make these diets cost effective for growers, but the potential is there to advance sustainable aquaculture."


In HSWRI's 64-day feeding trial, the researchers tested three diets formulated without wild fish ingredients against a control diet — containing fishmeal and fish oil - on juvenile California yellowtail. Upon completion of the study, the fish were analysed for general body composition (moisture, protein, fibre and ash content) and fatty acid levels in their tissue to evaluate the fish growth and fillet quality of each diet.


The researchers found significantly higher DHA-EPA fatty acid levels in fish fed the diet containing Veramaris marine algal oil, which contains naturally high levels of these omega-3s.


These results show that Veramaris natural marine algal oil can fully replace fish oil in the diet of juvenile California yellowtail without affecting growth or survival, and, at the same time, provide higher levels of DHA and EPA, two essential nutrients needed for early brain development and linked to improved cardiovascular health in humans.


In past studies on Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), scientists have observed similar or better growth and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in fish fed algal oil when compared to those fed fish oil.


Although the diets free of wild fish ingredients resulted in slower fish growth than the fishmeal-fish oil control diet, the pattern of growth - 600% increase in weight during the study — was still excellent and suggests a strong potential for full fishmeal-fish oil replacement for these species with continued research, said the authors.

- The Fish Site