Danish group invests in aqua feed research facility in Chile

BioMar looks to bolster expertise in functional fish feeds

© istock/Evgeny Sergeev

BioMar is to acquire 30% of a feed research center in Chile, in a move the Danish fish feed company says will allow it to focus on the development on functional feeds and fish welfare.

The Lenca facility will be renamed the Aquaculture Technology Center Patagonia (ATC Patagonia), adding to BioMar’s existing feed trial units in Central America and Europe.

Havard Jorgensen, R&D global director at BioMar, said the Danish fish feed producer is constantly making efforts to improve its innovation capacity and its investment in the new technology center will help to accelerate the exchange of knowledge in its salmon division.

The Chilean facility is said to enable the running of a broad range of studies on different species and nutritional projects for developing high performance feeds, testing of new raw materials as well as exploring new nutritional products and sustainable diets.

It is also said to support research into genetic resistance challenges and challenge trials with pathogens, as well as enabling development of expertise in recirculation technology systems, chemical products, vaccines and product registration.

Located near Puerto Montt, the Chilean facility covers 2.5 hectares of surface. It was built five years ago and is said to adhere to the highest standards in quality, monitoring, control and biosecurity. It was further improved and optimized in 2015. 

Over 16 trials, noted BioMar, can be run simultaneously at the unit, which contains particular areas for quarantine, small or large scale trials, along with nutrition and feeding, parasites, pathogens and other multi-used sections.

The processes are monitored and controlled in a recirculation system for trials in fresh water and sea water, while temperature can be controlled between 3ºC and 28ºC, added the Danish group.

Feed innovation

Last month saw BioMar launch a new transfer feed line for species farmed in the Mediterranean, containing B-WYSE, which it said was developed by its cooperation partner, Lallemand Animal Nutrition.

The line, based on a yeast derived functional ingredient, is aimed at boosting the performance parameters and maintaining the health status of the fish, particularly after stressful periods such as transition from hatchery to cage.

B-WYSE, it added, has been trialed in shrimp and fish, including sea bass and sea bream.

The transfer feed line includes the yeast product and a probiotic ingredient that BioMar has used in its feeds since 2010.

John Thinsley, senior researcher at BioMar R&D, said the marrying of the functional ingredients can help strengthen the mucosal barriers in intestines, skin and gills and, thus, influence its resistance to diseases and parasites. 

In Mediterranean fish farming, the transfer of sea bass, sea bream and meagre from the protected hatchery environment to the harsh environment in the sea cages has always had the risk of losses, said BioMar, so improving the health status of the fragile fry and improving their resistance against diseases prior to transfer to cages is an industry priority.

And, earlier this year, BioMar launched a fish feed on the Norwegian market, containing marine fatty acids, DHA, from microalgae, which had been produced collaboratively by Bunge and TerraVia. 

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