DHA, docosahexaenoic acid, is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid that is a critical element for humans and animals, including fish, for healthy growth and development.
AlgaPrime™ DHA will be produced at the companies’ SB Renewable Oils joint venture facility in Brazil, where full product scale-up was reached in late 2015. The joint venture partners will act as exclusive distributors for AlgaPrime™ DHA. Product sampling to global aquaculture feed producers has taken place over the last several months.
TerraVia and Bunge also announced that they have reached a definitive commercial supply agreement with one of the world’s largest aquaculture feed suppliers. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Under the supply agreement, AlgaPrime™ DHA is slated to begin incorporation into fish feed for salmonids in the July-August 2016 timeframe.
“We’re excited to build on our experience in the food and feed ingredients industries to bring a new, sustainable and value added source of DHA to the market at the quality, cost and scale the global aquaculture industry needs,” said Bunge Limited CEO Soren Schroder.
“AlgaPrime™ DHA is our first major new product from the expanded joint venture with Bunge and could be a real game changer in keeping our oceans healthy by offering a non-marine based, sustainable source of omega-3s to help address the growing ‘fish in, fish out’ problem today. It provides a far more sustainable non-fish based source of DHA to help maintain healthy oceans while improving the nutritional value of seafood for our families,” said TerraVia CEO Jonathan Wolfson.
Long chain omega-3s such as DHA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are critical inputs used extensively in aquaculture feed, with fish oil and meal as their main sources. Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production systems in the world, a market that is estimated to reach $200 billion annually by 2020. This growth is helping to drive increasing demand for long chain omega-3s, particularly as global supplies of the traditional sources, fish oil and meal, are under serious and increasing pressure from overfishing, quotas and rising demand for human and animal nutrition.
AlgaPrime™ DHA provides a sustainable and efficient source of DHA that can be produced at high volumes to address increasing global demand without endangering fish stocks. About 1 million tons of omega-3 rich fish oil is produced annually for aquaculture, animal feed and human nutrition. To meet this need, today large quantities of wild fish are caught and processed to extract the fish oil.
The demand for omega-3s is growing, but the availability of omega-3s from wild caught ocean fish is limited in nature. Wild fish and their prey naturally consume microalgae as their key and original source of DHA, making AlgaPrime™ DHA an excellent replacement for fish oil or meal.
“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”, said Piers Hart, Aquaculture Policy Officer, World Wildlife Fund, UK.
“We are eager to see sustainable sources of omega-3 rich oils come to market at scale and reduce pressure on scarce marine resources. The high yield and potentially reduced environmental footprint of algae products produced at SB Renewable Oils in Brazil could make this a more sustainable source of fish feed ingredients.”
The SB Renewable Oils facility embodies the principles of sustainable production to produce algae-based products with low carbon, water and land use impacts. This is in part enabled by the use of Bonsucro®-certified sugarcane as the feedstock, and the joint venture partners are in the process of securing certification against the Chain of Custody standard. Bonsucro® is a multi-stakeholder organization that sets standards for the sustainable production of sugar and sugar-derived products at each link of the supply chain, including cultivation, processing and transport.
In addition, sugarcane waste material (bagasse) is an efficient, renewable source of energy and is used to generate electricity and steam that powers the sugar mill and fermentation facility, as well as electricity for general use.