Considerable investment in Norwegian feed technology infrastructure

The Aquafeed Technology Centre has been awarded NOK 30 million (3.7 mill. USD) by the Research Council of Norway, for research into fish feed. Photo: Bjørn Erik Larsen/Nofima

The Aquafeed Technology Centre has been awarded NOK 30 million (3.7 mill. USD) by the Research Council of Norway, for research into fish feed. The centre will contribute to knowledge about how raw materials in the fish feed of the future can be used in the best possible way during preprocessing.

The Aquafeed Technology Centre is an initiative that the Norwegian food research institute Nofima took together with the University of Bergen, Uni Research and the University of Nottingham. The centre can now become a reality.

“This is marvellous news! Further growth of the Norwegian aquaculture industry requires that we have access to new, high-quality raw materials for fish feed. This award to Aquafeed means that we can carry the research forwards,” says Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, Managing Director of Nofima.

He believes that future research into aquaculture and feed will be further strengthened when Nofima’s research in the West Coast city of Bergen is gathered onto one site.

Further advantages will come from Nofima’s partnership in the Seafood Innovation Cluster (which was recently awarded the status of “Norwegian Centre of Expertise”).

The Aquafeed Technology Centre is to be located in Bergen, which has a strong research environment with 80 years of experience in the processing of biological raw materials from the sea. The research facilities here have been adapted to the development of the Norwegian seafood industry. This award will allow a new and necessary adaptation to the development.

Processing must be adapted to new raw materials

The nature of fish feed is undergoing rapid change. The contents of feed have previously been derived primarily from the sea, whereas now most comes from the land. A report published by Nofima in 2014 showed that at least 70% of the raw materials in feed come from the plant kingdom. Most of these raw materials, such as soy protein concentrate, maize protein and rapeseed oil, have been included in salmon feeds for the past 15 years.

However, more knowledge is needed to be able to exploit new raw materials in feed optimally, believes Mari Moren, Director of Research at the Department of Nutrition and Feed Technology at Nofima.

“Aquafeed will provide scientists with new tools that can contribute to understanding how the processing of modern raw materials and feed affect the ingredients and the final product. The centre will be a national independent research tool within feed technology. New knowledge in this field will benefit feed manufacturers and the health of fish, and form the basis for an improved use of the currently used marine raw materials,” says Moren.

30 new equipment units

Upgrades to the infrastructure may result in four research platforms. These are to:

  • develop and optimise ingredients of high nutritional and technological quality
  • separate new bioactive components, remove toxic components and develop functional ingredients with added value
  • carry out research and development of fish feed, based on extrusion and agglomeration technology (processing and forming of the products)
  • characterise the ingredients and end products.

30 equipment units are to be purchased in a period of three years, which is the period that will be required to establish the infrastructure. Research will probably start, however, as early as next year.

Written by Reidun Lilleholt, Communications Manager Aquaculture, Nofima