Feed – AlgaPrime
Micro matters Salmon bosses impressed by new alternative marine ingredient say joint venture team
new microalgae feed ingredient high in omega-3 was launched in 2016 after years of research, a joint venture agreement and getting the right experts together at the right time - ‘an alignment of the planets’, no less, according to its creators. AlgaPrime DHA can be produced in large-scale commercial quantities at competitive prices, setting it apart from other alternatives to marine ingredients. It is now being fed to salmon in Scotland, Norway and Chile through BioMar, whose global sustainability director, Vidar Gundersen, said he considers microalgae ‘to be the most sustainable raw material available for the production of salmon feed’. The companies behind the plant-based algae oil feed are Terravia, a former biofuel business based in San Francisco, and Bunge of Brazil, which produces sugar cane alongside its microalgae fermentation tanks in San Paulo. Here, Terravia’s Dr Walt Rakitsky and Bunge’s Dr Miguel Oliveira explain the product’s development and potential to Fish Farmer. Was farmed salmon the target market when you developed the product? Walt: From the beginning we intended to attack the aquaculture market with this product because
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we felt there was a real need for a new alternative source of omega-3 at a scale that we could deliver on, based on our factory in Brazil.
Above: Dr Miguel Oliveira. Left: AlgaPrime barrels. Opposite: Bunge’s fermentation tanks
Did the idea come from Brazil or from San Francisco? Miguel: It’s something that has been going along for a while but as we evolved into the joint venture with Terravia in 2012 we were looking for other markets where we could use the capability that we had. I’ve worked for Bunge for a long time and have a PhD in ﬁsh feed production from Norway. We have over the years worked on many projects trying to address the needs of that industry and this one ﬁt perfectly because Terravia also had inherited a lot of great people who had experience with DHA – like Walt – so all the planets lined up about two years ago when we started this project. You launched this into the UK very recently. Is AlgaPrime at a fully commercial level now? Miguel: Since the middle of 2016 it’s been a commercial product. Walt: As we speak we are running our joint venture factory in Brazil rmaking product. Delivering on the promise of omega-3 means making it available at a scale that makes sense to the industry, in particular to the salmonid industry. My background is a combination of business and technology and my expertise in algae fermentation dates back to the early 1990s when a previous company I was with actually started the ﬁrst large scale industrial fermentation experiment. Is BioMar an exclusive distributor for AlgaPrime? Walt: We recognised that we needed to align ourselves with a key
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