Salmon food trial could relieve marine sources
Atlantic salmon in Scotland will be fed a new fish feed produced from plants, which could help relieve pressure on stressed marine sources.
For the first time in the UK, the farmed salmon will be fed an oil ingredient pressed from a genetically modified (GM) plant as part of a research trial to validate the efficacy of the project. The feed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, important for human health, levels of which have decreased by half in farmed salmon in the past 10 years.
The oil is thought to be involved in brain development and reduces risk of heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
Plant scientist, Professor Johnathan Napier from Rothamsted Research and fish nutritionist, Professor Douglas Tocher from Stirling University, have been collaborating for nearly 20 years on finding a sustainable solution to deliver novel sources of omega-3.
“This is the largest feeding trial to validate the efficacy of the project. It’s extremely significant because it will demonstrate the ability to use omega-3 fish oils from plants across the whole production cycle of salmon,” explained Professor Napier.
The fish in this project are not genetically modified, and are being fed a feed which includes oil pressed from a GM plant. The project will both serve as a proof of concept and a potential solution to the sustainability issue in supplying fish oils to farmed fish. Current practice provides farmed fish a feed blended with both marine fish oil sourced from the sea and vegetable oil.
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