A NEW method to rising algae in Scotland might provide a sustainable increase for the aquaculture and agriculture sectors.
By offering regionally sourced different protein sources and components for feeds, the regionally grown algae has many sustainable makes use of.
The first use of this algae can be for feed, as a substitute for soy and fishmeal protein, however to scale back waste, the by-products can be utilized in human meals as a pigment.
Utilizing algae as a substitute for soy will scale back the carbon footprint of feed, because it reduces meals miles and reliance on imports.
Specialists in animal vitamin from Biosimetrics and Abrimar, each based mostly in Edinburgh, are working alongside researchers on the Scottish Affiliation of Marine Science (SAMS).
They intention to discover the optimum situations required for rising algae as a novel feed ingredient.
Funded by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the outcomes of the challenge might assist to unlock new Scottish provide chains for pure and sustainable feeds.
Earlier research have demonstrated the potential of algae as a high-quality, nutritious different to imported soy and fishmeal protein.
Nonetheless, the price and complexity of scaling as much as mass manufacturing has meant the method has not but been developed additional.
For this challenge, species had been particularly chosen for his or her business viability, to minimise potential waste and maximise worth.
By taking a collaborative method to rising and harvesting, the consortium has devised a brand new technique the place a number of sectors will use totally different parts of the algae crop for various functions.
Whereas some components of algae would go into fish and livestock feeds, different co-products – which can beforehand have been deemed waste – could possibly be used as pigments for a variety of foods and drinks or shopper merchandise.
The researchers have examined a variety of organisms equipped by the Tradition Assortment of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP), Europe’s largest assortment of dwelling strains from freshwater and marine environments.
With this, they intention to find out which species might unlock the best feed worth for monogastric animals, fish and people by measuring their velocity of development, protein yield and digestibility.
Algae has the same dietary profile to soy, eggs, fishmeal and different generally used protein sources.
Nonetheless, while algae will be grown regionally, the UK imports round 3.5 million tonnes of soybean equivalents per 12 months largely from South America, with roughly three-quarters used for livestock and fish feed.
Dr Virgilio Ambriz-Vilchis, head of technical companies at BioSimetrics, stated: “Completely different species of algae have already proven enormous potential by way of the dietary advantages for aquaculture and agriculture.
“Nonetheless, transferring the method from the lab to full-scale manufacturing just isn’t as simple as it might appear.
“In addition to the technical hurdles, we additionally must optimise the method in order that it is smart economically.
“Algae is a excessive quantity and relatively low-value product, so now we have evaluated 10 separate species and totally different rising situations to see which achieves the most effective outcomes.
“Subsequent, we’re eager to search out companions from different adjoining sectors to work with and discover the collaborative alternative the place we every get what we’d like from totally different elements of the plant and make your entire course of extra round.”
Liz Fletcher, director of enterprise engagement at IBioIC, added: “The outcomes of this challenge might result in thrilling new alternatives for feed provide chains based mostly right here in Scotland that scale back our reliance on imported components from abroad.
“In some circumstances, one business’s waste is one other’s gold, so it will be nice to see totally different sectors working collectively to extract worth from one core uncooked materials in a shared and sustainable vogue.”