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Fish oil alternative given “world-changing” status

29 April 2020, at 9:06am

AlgaPrime DHA, the omega-3-rich algae feed ingredient, has been given an honourable mention in the food category of Fast Company's 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards.

The ingredient was developed by Corbion as an alternative to the use of fish oil in aquaculture feeds – a critical nutrient which is the main source of the important long chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. As fish farming continues to grow, fish oil supplies are not expected to keep up with this growth.

Recognising this looming resource constraint, scientists at Corbion turned to the original source of long chain omega-3s – marine microalgae. AlgaPrime DHA – which contains approximately three times the level of DHA of fish oil – is sustainably produced through fermentation with a production system powered by renewable energy.

Due to Corbion's scale of production this new source of long chain omega-3s has become economically affordable for farmed salmon – the major consumer of long chain omega-3s. This allows farmers to meet the growing demand for salmon and increase omega-3 levels in fish, without putting more pressure on marine fisheries.

"Aquaculture is becoming an increasingly important contributor to the global food system. To meet the continuing growth in demand for fish oil and fish meal, sustainable alternatives are needed," says Dr Piers Hart, seafood and aquaculture specialist at World Wildlife Fund UK. "The adoption of algae omega-3s in salmon feed has been a breakthrough for aquaculture and reduces the pressure on forage fisheries and the ocean environment."

The honourable mention the the US business magazine's World Changing Ideas Awards is the latest in a series of milestones that acknowledges the demand for algae-fed salmon among farmers, brands, retailers and consumers.

"It can take years for the adoption of a novel ingredient to gain critical mass, and a key aspect of AlgaPrime DHA's success has come from our collaboration with salmon farmers and BioMar, the leading innovator in aquaculture feed," said Chris Haacke, Corbion's global aquaculture lead. "Adopting such a new ingredient took real courage and a great deal of effort to ensure success. Over the past year, we've seen a tipping point in adoption to meet the growing demand for more sustainable and nutritious seafood at every point in the supply chain."

Now in its fourth year, the annual Fast Company World Changing Ideas Awards programme honours businesses, policies, projects and concepts that offer innovative solutions to the biggest issues facing humanity including transportation, education, food, politics, and technology. A panel of eminent judges selected winners, finalists and honourable mentions from a pool of more than 3,000 entries from across the globe. All of the finalists are highlighted in the May/June issue of the magazine.