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AquacultureUK2016: Big Fish Feed Potential for Scottish Whisky Industry

Salmonids Nutrition Sustainability +4 more

UK - Horizon Protein, a spin out from Heriot-Watt University, is working with the Scottish malt whisky industry to produce a low cost locally sourced sustainable fish (salmon) feed from recovered barley protein.

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Currently, the UK has a high dependency on imports for feed ingredients, with roughly 60-90 per cent of feed ingredients being imported, said Dr Aboubakry Diallo, from Horizon Proteins, during his talk at Aquaculture UK.

Finding a more sustainable and local alternative through underused proteins has therefore been Horizon's vision.

The Scottish malt whisky industry produces 225 million ipa malt whisky each year and is valued at 3.8 billion a year. From this production there is 30,000 tonnes of protein that can be used.

In order to recover the protein, Horizon has a patented process whereby the leftover pot ale from whisky production is separated into yeast for feed, protein for fish food (barley) and a carbohydrate rich stream.

Dr Diallo noted that there are important criteria when selecting feed ingredients. These are:

  • Nutrient levels
  • Digestibility
  • cost

The barley protein extract does well in all of these areas. Firstly, it has a high protein content of 90-95 per cent DM. In comparison, protein content of soybean is 50 per cent and fish meal 69 per cent.

In terms of digestibility, barley protein is 99 per cent. For fish meal, digestibility is 71 per cent and soybean meal 70 per cent.

It is also a high purity material that more than meets the amino acid requirements of juvenile salmon and it also has no negative effect of potential anti-nutrient factors.

Recovered barley protein is therefore nutritionally suitable, has a secure supply and consistent local production. The recovery process has also proved to be financially viable, added Dr Diallo.

Dr Diallo added that the first protein sales from the process are expected in 2017, after the full scale plant begins operation in 2016/2017.

Building on the success of working with the Scottish malt whisky industry, Horizon is also looking to work with the Scottish grain whisky industry and to apply its technology to recovering protein from grasses.