Hemp by-products as a protein source for Scottish Salmon (FS156)

Aim:

This project aims to investigate the suitability of UK produced hemp seed by-product as a an alternative sustainable protein source for the Scottish Atlantic salmon industry.

Funding Amount:

£50,000

Duration of Project:

5 Months

Project Summary:

Animal protein demand will double by 2050 with aquaculture expected to fill this gap given that it is the most efficient animal production system, with feed conversion ratios of approximately 1.1, lower than both poultry (1.7) and cattle (6.8) (Fig1). The rapid development of aquaculture will result in higher protein demands that cannot be fulfilled by soy protein, the main protein in aquafeeds, as it leads to deforestation and carries a high CO2 footprint both from farming and international shipping.

Alternatives of locally produced protein sources, or derived by-products, are required within the circular economy/zero waste concept. Hemp provides a competitive protein source to soy, being up to 5 times more effective than trees at sequestering CO2. Rare Earth Global (REG) have developed a UK model for supplying locally produced and sustainable hemp protein, which avoids deforestation through fitting into UK farmers’ crop rotation schedules. This means that through full plant utilisation of stalks for REG primary uses (construction/energy), there can be a negative CO2 impact on the use of the seeds as a protein source. In contrast to other protein alternatives (e.g. microbial protein, insect meal), the scale needed for commercial use can be met through REG’s UK offtakes for the stalk (30K mT).

The present proposal aims to investigate the suitability of UK produced hemp seed by-product as a protein source for the Scottish Atlantic salmon industry. The first step to validate the use of hemp protein as an ingredient for aquafeeds is to assess its digestibility value.

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

Institute of Aquaculture