Polychaete Upcycling of Aquaculture Wastes (RD052)


This project aims to develop a commercially viable, sustainable method of production across the fisheries and aquaculture supply chain, by mitigating environmental impacts of operations through the re-direction of protein rich by-products from fisheries processing into the aquaculture feed supply chain.

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Project Summary:

This project was originally funded as a feasibility study (FS009) and has now been awarded funding to continue the project into the R&D phase.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector in the world (FAO). This has led to a requirement to find new sustainable marine proteins and lipids.  Polychaetes are predominantly marine annelids. Most are palatable to fish and crustaceans and a source of easily digested protein and unsaturated lipids.  Several species utilise wastes as a feed source in nature.

Our Phase 1 Technical Feasibility application found that nutrients in fisheries effluent streams could be recovered and dried in a stable, transportable form using natural, sustainable, digestible chitosan-based formulations. In Phase 2 we will develop methods for commercial sequestration of valuable nutrients from such effluents by polychaete worms.

This project will determine the commercial potential of a new, sustainable value-chain that could provide a step-change in aquaculture feed sourcing whilst de-contaminating aquaculture and fish processing wastes by using them in stabilised, dry forms as a feed for polychaete worms.

We will determine the suitability of such feeds for worms and examine bioaccumulation and degradation. Certain compounds that accumulate in marine polychaetes are important in the flavouring of seafood. Polychaete production and accumulation of these compounds is affected by growth conditions including the feeding environment. The consumption of these compounds by marine organisms contributes to the rich flavour of seafood. We will monitor levels of these value-added flavour ingredients at all stages of the project to determine the extent of bio-accumulation in worms and, through subsequent aquaculture feed trials, determine if accumulated compounds are transferred to salmonids and crustaceans.

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

Sustainable Feeds