Battelle Unlocks Door, Algae Could Rush In

December 13, 2016 |

0d45998By Stafford “Doc” Williamson

Special to The Digest

Reported in the Feednavigator.com (Dec. 8, 2016) is news that soymeal has taken a step toward replacing fishmeal as aquaculture feed. The Battelle company, at the behest of the Ohio Soybean Council, has developed a non-fermentation method that instead adds an enzyme to remove oligosaccharides (an “anti-nutritional factor”) from soybean meal which greatly improves soymeal as a fish feed (including shrimp), approaching parity with fishmeal in nutritional results.

Fishmeal is suffering a declining stock of sardines, anchovies, and other “junk” fish as well as fish manufacturing byproducts. That, in turn, has put a plunging line on the projected availability graph at the same time that increasing demand for high protein food, especially in developing countries, is skyrocketing toward the top of that same chart. That grow curve obviously gets choked off at the point where supply puts a limit on availability. High levels of nutritional efficiency in a plant-based substitute for fishmeal, therefore, is good news.

This is especially good news for the algae industry because algae proved itself as a nutritionally equivalent to fishmeal many years ago. The opportunity to re-brand “algaemeal” as a fishmeal substitute, just as soymeal appears about to do can raise $400/Tonne (comparable for both feedstocks) food source to something far closer to the recent fishmeal market price of $1500 which was as high as $2000/Tonne in recent years.

Here’s a couple of possible scenarios for a fairly typical night (AND OR DAY on the Fishfarm). First feeding is pure fishmeal among the fingerlings. Cost of pure fingerling for of fishmeal is hypotechically low this week, say $1400/TONNE, and we feed these fish pure fishmeal (no sense in getting the best stock in an experiment) the second stock pen is one of the experimental groups. Amid the rising sun and the master’s absence, this group is being fed on 50% microagale meal the one’s ahead and behind it are getting their regular portions of fishfeed. It has been shown many times over that diets for common food fish being farmed have no adverse effect from fishmeal substitution of algae at 35% 50% and 100%.

Taking the middle case of replacing 50% of fishmeal valued at $1500/Tomme, removing that 1/2 Tonne also drops the cost. You could probably buy a Tonne of ALGAEMEAL at $800, but you only need to use 1/2 of it to substitute for the fishmeal that you recently removed. The math, then is, $750/half TONNE of fishmeal plus $400/half TONNE for the microalgae which replaces the half TONNE of fishmeal. The net remaining 100% nutritious feedmeal a net cost of $1150/TONNE which is a saving of 23% ($350) per Tonne. Most fish convert food to flesh at a 1:1 ratio, compared to pigs at 3.65:1 while dairy cows produce well at 1.7:1, the advantages of microalgae feeds are obvious to all.

Soymeal ground fine and using the Battle enzyme are reported with a similar nutritional result. Good news for soy growers, too.

The future is not about a slimy, wiggling, pseudo-meat in some lab, it is very likely wriggling fish eating the same stuff they ate at home in the ocean.

Williamson is founder and CTO of DaoChi Energy, a division of Williamson Information Technologies Corp. was created to handle issues and business arising from its innovative waste-to-energy projects.

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