Paddy Campbell, Global R&D Director in the BioMar Group, said that the new unit will consist of 148 tanks divided on three different recirculation systems. The Feed Trial Unit (FTU) will be the largest of its kind in Chile and it will provide a substantial increase in the trial capacity available to BioMar's Global Research & Development Organisation.
"The capability to perform significant amounts of feed trials is becoming more and more decisive for feed manufacturers. The days when fish feed consisted of a handful of different ingredients are gone. With the volatile raw material markets and an increasing amount of new raw material types - e.g. protein concentrates - becoming available, feed suppliers have to be able to integrate new ingredients in the feed recipes fast, and with proper documentation of feed performance, flesh quality and fish health," said Paddy Campbell.
The new FTU will enable BioMar to perform simultaneous trials with both fresh and sea water in three separate closed systems with control of environmental factors such as water temperature, oxygen levels, salinity, and photoperiod.
Mr Campbell said that the facilities primarily will be used for trials with Atlantic Salmon, Rainbow Trout and Coho Salmon.
"We can perform tests with first feeding fry to harvest size, and the facility will include a small hatchery to secure that we have a steady supply of disease free eggs."
Some of the primary focus areas of the Feed Trial Unit will be the further development and refinement of BioMar's YTELSE Performance Concept and new types of SMART Feed as well as to investigate the link between nutrition and fish health.
"With the new unit we gain a greater flexibility. We will have a better possibility to perform precise benchmark trials for different diets and to evaluate their biological and economic performance for our customers," he said.
The Feed Trial Unit in Pargua will also be used for the development and testing of new diets for recirculation systems such as BioMar's ORBIT Concept.
BioMar recently opened a new Feed Trial Unit in Costa Rica targeted at feed development for warm water fish species, in particular tilapia and shrimp. With the new facility in Chile, BioMar will operate a total of six trial stations in Europe and Latin America, including both land based and marine facilities and covering all growing conditions from tropical to subarctic.
Paddy Campbell underlines that the new Feed Trial Unit should not be seen as a Chilean unit. - It will form an integrated part of our global research and development structure and it will benefit all customers globally as the additional capacity and the flexible closed system will allow us to speed up trial sequences and our product development process.