As the demand for sustainable fish feed rises, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) is funding research to develop technology that can remove anti-nutritional factors (ANFs) from soybean meal (SBM), making it more efficient as a fish meal replacement in aquaculture diets.
OSC’s research partners include Battelle, The Ohio State University, Iowa State University and Kentucky State University.
“Fish fed with the improved SBM grew 21 per cent faster than fish fed with conventional SBM,” said Vikas Kumar, assistant professor, Division of Aquaculture, Kentucky State University.
Soybean meal has a high protein content, essential fatty acids, unsaturated fats and a favorable amino acid profile that closely meets the dietary requirements of fish.
“With Ohio Soybean funding, Battelle developed a process to completely remove the anti-nutritional oligosaccharides from soybean meal without any compromise in amino acid composition,” said Ram Lalgudi, senior research scientist with Battelle.
Globally, aquaculture uses four to six metric tons of fishmeal each year and is expanding by at least 10 per cent annually. Because fishmeal contains wild fish, a rapidly dwindling resource, fish farmers are interested in agriculture-based nutrients to supplement fishmeal and provide a sustainable source of nutrition at an affordable price.
“Ohio soybean farmers are excited to be able to meet an important need for aquaculture farmers,” said Keith Roberts, chair of the OSC New Uses Committee.
“We are now at the stage where we need to determine market efficacy. We are planning to conduct larger-scale fish studies within 2015.”
OSC is now looking for commercial partners with an interest in bringing this technology to the marketplace and help meet the consumer demand for fish, which has nearly doubled in the last 40 years.
Interested parties can contact Barry McGraw director, product development and commercialisation, at 614-476-3100.