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Improving The Physical Quality Of Fish Feed


NORWAY - Julia Wolska of Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC) has started a PhD thesis that may contribute to the development of a new generation of feed pellets from Skretting.

The expectations from a modern fish feed are many. The feed should have the required nutritional profile, good digestibility and be attractive to the fish.

In addition, the physical quality of the pellets is of vital importance to the farmers. The pellet should not crumble or release fat and must withstand storage and have the proper sinking rate.

The growing use of vegetable raw materials makes it increasingly challenging to meet all these requirements at once and there is a need for new research in this area. Another reason for this work is that demands for physical quality are changing, due to factors including changing logistics, longer feeding tubes at the customer and new markets.

This is part of the background for the PhD project of Julia Wolska, 26 years of age and originally from Poland. Ms Wolska has a master's degree in biotechnology and food analysis from the University of Gdansk. She moved to Norway a few years ago and began work for Skretting ARC in a temporary position in 2010. She was immediately attracted to the idea of doing a PhD project together with Skretting ARC.

“I’ve always wanted to do a PhD project but the idea of doing a strictly academic thesis didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to be certain that my project would be useful in real life. With this thesis it’s a win-win situation. I gain new knowledge and Skretting gains research results that hopefully can be used to develop better feeds in the future.”

The project is conducted together with Lund University in Sweden where Professors Olle Holst and Patrick Adlecreutz from the Department of Biotechnology will provide guidance.

Ms Wolska’s PhD thesis is divided into five parts. In the first part of the project she will look at the factors that affect the physical quality of the feed, such as process parameters, raw materials used in the production and formulation. The shape, texture and porosity of the pellets will also be studied down to the smallest detail.

The next two steps in the project will deal with raw materials.

“I will look into the possibility of using the raw materials to change the physical quality of the pellets. Here we can probably use some concepts that are common in other types of food production,” Ms Wolska says.