Collaboration between nine institutes in Portugal and Spain has launched a project to develop microalgae biotechnology to its fullest potential.
While the project aims to strengthen the industry, the research being done could yield uses in health, cosmetics, and aquaculture. Planned activities include identifying fast-growing strands of microalgae, and better understanding metabolic routes, which are used in nutrient assimilation and bio-energy production. If research could identify the fastest-growing and more nutritious of microalgae, the product could then be tested as an ingredient in aquaculture feed.
Determining the most sustainable feed to use in aquaculture operations is one of the sector’s largest hurdles. Just as beef requires massive inputs (water, grain, acreage), feeding 10 pounds of small fish in order to reap one pound of a larger fish is not the best use of resources, and will not be feasible in a future of 9 billion people to feed. The aquaculture industry is well aware of the need for improved efficiency, and technological developments are in the making as researchers work to identify algae, gases, and waste products that could be used to feed fish.
This project will run through December 2019; more details on the accord can be found on The Fish Site.