Sustainable solutions win Aquafeed Innovation Awards 2019 A plant-based protein and an electric drier ran away with this year’s Aquafeed Innovation Awards presented during Victam International in Cologne, Germany, following Aquafeed Horizons technical conference. The Aquafeed Technology award was given to Sander Geelen, Managing Director Geelen Counterflow and the Aquafeed Ingredients award to Mark Luecke, CEO, Prairie Aquatech by Lucía Barreiro, editor Aquafeed.com and sales manager, Michael Van den Dries.
Today’s aquafeed producers demand sustainable ingredients and methods of production, and their suppliers are not just keeping up, but often helping drive the trend. The products of two such companies impressed the Aquafeed.com panel of independent judges, who selected them from a strong line up of contenders as winners of this year’s awards.
A microbially enhanced plant-based protein Fishmeal is an ideal protein for fish feed, but finite fishery resources and a booming industry means alternatives must be developed. There has been a rush to fill the protein gap from insects, algae and single cell protein producers among others, but most of these are struggling to scale up to the production levels required by feed manufacturers. The approach taken by Prairie Aquatech is to develop a microbially enhanced plant-based protein ingredient for aquafeed, ME-PRO; it is already being incorporated into aquafeed diets in the United States and has been trialed with multiple species worldwide. ME-PRO is produced at Prairie AquaTech’s AgTech Center in Brookings, South Dakota, a facility that focuses on research, testing and trials of innovative plant-based technologies. The center comprises fermentation units for protein production, a recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) for multi-species testing, a feed plant for testing feed formulation and production, and a laboratory. It has recently completed construction of its first commercial-scale production facility in Volga, South Dakota. At full production capacity, the facility will produce 30,000 metric tons of ME-PRO from nonGMO soybeans per year. Non-GMO soybean meal is treated with a natural, non-GMO, food-grade microbe (Aureobasidium pullulans), an all-natural process created at South Dakota State University, to create a high value (70% as fed, 100% digestible) protein to extend,
Left to right: Mark Luecke, CEO, and Sue Lancaster, VP of development, Prairie Aquatech.
or even replace fish meal. However, ME-PRO provides another benefit to aquaculture in that it is proven to significantly lower phosphorus discharge while providing high P availability to the animal. In one case, a pond-based trout hatchery was able to reduce their discharge by 69%, allowing the hatchery to survive and thrive, sustaining high-value customers.
Aquafeed: Advances in Processing & Formulation Vol 11 Issue 3 2019