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Neptune Reports Positive Preliminary Results in Ento-Protein Trials

US - Neptune Industries has announced "extremely positive" preliminary results from stage three trials of Ento-ProteinTM now under way at Mississippi State University.

Ento-ProteinTM is a high quality sustainable protein derived from insects, which is intended to be a replacement for the rapidly depleting fishmeal made from wild caught feedstock species, for which there is currently a $7 billion worldwide market.

The trials are being run at Mississippi State University's Wildlife and Fisheries Dept. under the direction of Dr. Lou D'Abramo, to assess the growth and digestibility of several Ento-ProteinTM based diets.

Stage three trials began on 14 February and continue until 14 April. They involve a total of 600 hybrid striped bass. Of these, 120 striped bass were given a conventional diet, and serve as a control group. The remaining 480 were broken into four groups of 120 fish each. Each experimental group was given a different formulation of Ento-ProteinTM. However, no special ingredients, other than Ento Protein, were included in the diet.

Preliminary results indicate that the growth rate of fish receiving the Ento-Protein(TM) diets without special ingredients, is 80/85 per cent of the growth rate of fish receiving the control diet with conventional fishmeal, and that the digestibility is excellent.

According to Ernest D. Papadoyanis, Neptune President and CEO: "These are remarkable results, and if verified and confirmed by the rest of the trial, they will represent a significant step forward for Neptune, and indeed for the entire aquaculture industry. Developing a sustainable fishmeal replacement for aquaculture diets represents the single most critical issue facing the industry today, and the news that Neptune has achieved a growth equivalent of 80/85 per cent of that of fishmeal based diets, would be received enthusiastically.

"Neptune's next steps would be to experiment with adding various natural sources that we believe will drive growth rates into the 90-95 percentile of fishmeal-based diets, and justify scale up and mass marketing of Ento-Protein(TM) as a direct competitor with fishmeal. At the same time, should these results be confirmed, Neptune would expect to bring to market the current formulations for use in specialty markets for pets, zoos, and for tropical fish beginning in the first quarter of 2009."

On 26 February 2006, Neptune filed a Provisional Process Patent on the production and Processing of Select Insects into Protein Meal for Fish and Animal diets.

The company began its research and testing program with Mississippi State University in the third quarter of 2007, and has successfully completed stage one and stage two trials. In stage one hundreds of insect species were evaluated for optimal nutritional and production characteristics, based upon both a literature search and actual laboratory analyses. The end result was four potential species for commercial production. In stage two, a two week feeding trial with hybrid striped bass was conducted to assess any potential off-flavor in fish fed on the an insect protein-based diet vs. that of a fishmeal-based diet.

The results of an independent panel indicated that there was no significant difference in taste, and in fact most panelists actually preferred the taste of the fish fed the Ento-ProteinTM based diet.

Mr. Papadoyanis added: "Our previous trials all proved very successful in terms of diet acceptability, and the final taste quality of the fish consuming the diet. With the preliminary results of stage three now in hand, we are increasingly confident that Ento-ProteinTM can make a significant contribution to the goal of sustainable aquaculture, and provide Neptune shareholders with a large and highly profitable revenue stream for years to come."

Ellen Hardy

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