Algae and animal nutrition


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Whether brown, red or green, algae are resources with huge potential, however they are largely untapped, particularly in Europe.

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Algae and animal nutrition

  1. 1. May | June 2014 Algae and animal nutrition The International magazine for the aquaculture feed industry International Aquafeed is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. ©Copyright 2014 Perendale Publishers Ltd.All rights reserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1464-0058 INCORPORATING FISH FARMING TECHNOLOGY
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  3. 3. W hether brown, red or green, algae are resources with huge potential, however they are largely untapped, particularly in Europe. Even if the implementation of viable eco- nomic sectors still seems distant, more and more projects are based on the valorisation of this promising raw material for food and feed industries: A process for which scientists and industrialists have everything to gain in moving forward together. The earth has seven production basins of brown seaweed, Asia being widely ahead (75 percent). Northern Europe comes far behind with two percent of world production. “The required conditions for the cultiva- tion of seaweed are cold water with no ice”, recalls Marc Danjon, deputy director of Ceva, the Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues, which emphasises that seaweed culture sector has increased by eight percent every year for 30 years. “Do you know many sectors having such exponential growth ? It’s an impressive mar- ket,” notes the scientist who regrets that France still produces less than 100 tonnes per year. Here stands the challenge of Breizh’Alg project, which aims to establish a seaweed industry and bring the development of sea- weed culture within a process of regional development. For Marc Danjon, it’s time to think of a ‘range’ like we do for vegetables and to develop a real industry for ‘sea vegetables’. All the more since seaweed are full of qualities offering enormous opportunities to exploit: they do not need fertilizers, nor freshwater, nor pesticides and require on average one-sixth of the surface needed by terrestrial cultures. In contrast with the terrestrial plants that draw nutrients from their roots, algae absorb nutrients on their entire surface, thus greatly increasing their productivity. Moreover, their colloidal structure, which allows greater water retention, provides to algae twice more dry matter than terrestrial plants. A well-known quality for Canadians and Norwegians, who are developing a sig- nificant production of Ascophyllum meal, widely used in agriculture and animal nutrition, including cattle. Brown seaweed of the Fucales family, Ascophyllum is particularly interesting for its vitamins, minerals and proteins supply, but also for its powerful binding properties. Setalg, based in Brittany, commonly uses it for animal feed, mainly for petfood (read RAA 649, p36). Nutritional value Our interest in seaweed is not new: it dates back to the Neolithic, where they were used as fertilizer, feed, fuel, etc. As for research on algae, it really started in the second half of the 19th Century, with the creation of marine stations of Concarneau (1859) and Naples (1872), followed by the start in 1872 of the laboratory of experimen- tal zoology now known as biological Station of Roscoff. Raw material with several interests, mac- roalgae are too often reserved for specialty markets, therefore with sometimes a prohibi- tive cost. The nutritional value of algae stands yet in the joint presence of minerals (particularly rich mineral fraction), fiber, protein, vitamins and lipids, depending on the species (see descriptive table). In the feed industry, seaweed meals are increasingly used as a dietary supplement, but seaweed extract still remain quite inaccessible economically. Valorisation This is exactly Ceva’s role (Center of study and valorization of seaweed), based in Pleubian, Côtes d'Armor, to clear the knowl- edge before considering possible applications, so that the operation is economically viable. Idealg project, born in late 2010 (coordi- nated by the European University of Brittany and Roscoff Biological Station), aims to devel- op a sector of algae for industrials. It is part of “The Great Loan Project”, "which amounts to consider for the first time algae in the same way as wheat or corn!" Said Jean-François Sassi, product division manager of Ceva. The idea is to increase volumes by inten- sive selection work; this project complements Breizh'Alg intention, which is to develop an economic sector of seaweed in Brittany. "This is the second floor of the rocket,” Marc Danjon likes to imagine. “Both projects are advancing in parallel: Idealy must feed itself from the results and difficulties of Breizh'Alg.” Today’s priority is to find areas of culture, which actually happens in the recovery of con- cessions, especially from the shellfish industry in trouble. ALGAE and animal nutrition 24 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | May-June 2014 FEATURE
  4. 4. The next step after seaweed farming will be offshore marine aquaculture, with shellfish and seaweed culture on the same site as fish farming (open ocean aquaculture). Algae have a detoxifying effect that is particularly interesting in a closed system: the co-culture shrimp / green seaweed, com- monly practiced in Mexico and Asia, thus improves the sanitary status of the farm, reduces feed costs and has a positive effect on pigmentation of crustaceans raised under these conditions. Applications of seaweed are - theoreti- cally numerous: cosmetics, human and animal nutrition, chemistry. Until now, the latter sector has known the heaviest investments from large groups. "Today, three large groups share the global market of transformation of seaweed in bio-products, says Jean- François Sassi: FMC Biopolymer, Cargill and Dupont, all three directed towards the production of alginate or carrageenan, in other words, gelling agents for food and industrial use. “At the other end of the chain, there are also some small seaweed farmers that we count on the fingers of one hand in Brittany. In between, it is missing SMEs working on the very diverse transformation of algal material,” he adds Some manufacturers, like Olmix, under- stood the market opportunity that could represent the algal resource exploitation. A project like Ulvans aims to implement a complete green algae industrial sector. The scientific literature begins to abound to demonstrate the positive effects of sea- weed in health and nutrition of humans and animals. Henri Salmon, researcher at INRA, presented at Olmix 1st Algae Symposium in September 2012, the result of his research on immune action and anti- inflammatory effects of marine sulfated polysaccharides (MSP). "Depending on the considered type of polysaccharide, there is a general action on innate immunity, with dif- ferent mechanisms of cell recognition and many types of pathways - activa- tion of the comple- ment, of the lym- phocytes, produc- tion of cytokines.” The scientist also notes that more and more publications have reported very successful results in many areas of human and animal health, "Whether in the field of antiviral activities (Influenza, H5N1), in the regu- lation of inflamma- tion and anticoagu- lant properties or anti-tumoral activi- ties, to mention only the most important ones. Most of these activities have been observed or meas- ured in cell cultures or experimental animals (rat); all these properties are potentially applica- ble to livestock spe- cies." A lot of perspectives For now France is still far from using these resources on an industrial scale. May-June 2014 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | 25 FEATURE C/ San Romualdo 12-14 • 28037 Madrid (España) +34 902 15 77 11 • +34 91 725 08 00 • Improved survival and growth rate Improved health status Immune boosting effect Shortened production cycle LIPTOFRY PHYTOBIOTIC GROWTH PROMOTER FOR FINGERLINGS
  5. 5. Seaweed are underutilised, regrets Marc Danjon from Ceva. Probably also for cultural reasons algae come marginally in the human diet, compared to the use that is made in Asia. Regarding the specific case of green sea- weed, Marc Danjon asserts that their potential uses in food are underutilised worldwide. Their protein content can achieve a significant rate of 30 percent of dry matter and are also rich in fiber. Nevertheless, Ceva’s researchers warn the industrials: "Wild resources do not present a very important energy supply and their culture requires very specific conditions. Green seaweed are rich in indi- gestible fiber so they are good for health but not directly for animal growth. In culture, it is therefore necessary to enrich the Ulva in protein and in digestible fiber.” Further research is needed to reduce the obstacle represented by the fibers for protein digest- ibility, in order to transform sea- weed matter in real raw material for all species. “We can get a complete food quite easily as long as we control the conditions of biomass pro- duction,” says Jean-François Sassi. Brown, red or green, sea- weed have the potential to feed but these products are not cali- brated. Significant variations of chemi- cal composition of seaweed actually make their operation difficult, hence the necessity for further research on this issue. Regarding microalgae, operat- ing conditions are even more del- icate and complex, which makes their cost prohibitive (around Euro3600 per kilo). Their fat content is particularly interesting for the biodiesel industry and many projects are being set up to develop its use in animal and human nutrition. “We are still a long way from producing protein meal”, reports Marc Danjon, who is calling for a real technological revolution to develop the use of microalgae. “The fields of research are numerous and very promising but algae suffer from being excluded from plant crops," observe Ceva‘s researchers. Europe has no agronomic approach towards algae like Asia does, "where they grow algae the same way as vegetables," he adds. About Olmix & the Ulvans project Olmix, a specialist in ‘green chemistry’, quickly saw the potential of algae in aquacul- ture and agriculture. Green seaweed poly- saccharides, ulvans, combined with micron- ised clay from Montmorillon gave birth to Amadéite® in 2004 and this patented product is now introduced in various feed supple- ments for animals. Today with the support of Oséo (up to Euro10 million for a project which amounts to Euro25 million euros of investment), Olmix wishes to structure the valorisation of seaweed at an industrial scale and to develop the use of algae as proteins substi- tute to fishmeal, fertilizer and biostimulant for plants. In all, four plants are mobilised around the pilot project: two sites for the collection and initial processing, in Plouenan and Nantes, and two high-tech stations for the development of finished products: "Our technique is to hydrolyze the algae to isolate active principles and to extract the proteins. “The valorisation in animal nutrition is driven towards nutraceuticals and aquaculture, where seaweed offer a real alternative to fish- meal. Our pilot plant in Plouenan will reach a processing capacity of 15,000 tonnes of algae. In Indonesia a project to develop algae for bioethanol and food (human and animal) is being developed with volumes of two million tonnes. It is clear that the raw material is over there,” says the company. About Ceva Ceva, based in Pleubian on the Northern coast of Brittany, is the only technical center in Europe dedicated to the study and valoriza- tion of marine plants. Originally created in 1982 to study the phe- nomenon of green seaweed, Ceva expanded its applied research on algae (macro and micro), marine plants and marine biotechnology. The center is equipped with a labora- tory of analysis, focusing on the research of seaweed active principles. It combines the resources needed for R&D projects on the development of new process (extraction, purification) and the physio-chemical charac- terisation of products stemming from these projects or specific customers’ requests. It is strongly focused on the chemistry of algal polysaccharides, but also of proteins, polyphenols, pigments and minerals. Ceva also ensures the transfer of scientific knowledge from academia to the industrial field: it is well equipped with a pilot plat- form providing the full transformation process to develop various semi-industrial products according to the requests. With a staff of 25 members, Ceva is organised in three main departments that are environment, culture and products. Created with the support of Breton communities and industrials of algae sec- tor, Ceva is a private research organisation open to any type of industrialists. It is part of Actia network, which is certified as Agro- industrial Technical Institute (Itai) by the First Ministry. Reference: La Revue de l'Alimentation Animale N° 664, mars 2013 by Sarah Le Blé and Caroline Morice. Composition of seaweed used in animal feed Protein Brown seaweed: 5-11 % DM Red seaweed: 30-40 % DM (quantitatively equivalent to soybean) Green seaweed: 20% DM Microalgae : Between 12 and 65 % DM Fat Macroalgae : low lipid content value of 1 to 3% DM (up to 5% in Ascophyllum nodosum) Green seaweed: high content in oleic (C 18:1) and alpha-linolenic (w3-C 18:3) fatty acids. Red seaweed: high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA (w3-C20-5) and arachidonic acid (w6-C20: 4). Presence of linoleic and linolenic fatty acids. Brown seaweed: comparable to other families, with a high concentration of linolenic fatty acids. Microalgae: Can accumulate over 50% of their dry weight in fat. These consist mainly of triglycerides, phospholipids and glycolipids. They contain saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega 3 : ALA,EPA,DHA, or omega 6 :ARA. Fibers (macroalgae) Average total content: 32 to 50% DM Insoluble fiber is found in small amounts in the form of cellulosic fractions and floridean starch. Soluble fiber (or phycocolloids), more interesting, are better represented: Red seaweed: 51-56% in the form of agars, carrageenans and xylans Green seaweed: 51-56% in the form of ulvans, rhamnanes and arabinogalactan Brown seaweed: 67 to 87% in the form of laminaranes (B-glucans), alginates and fucans Mineral component (macroalgae) The mineral fraction can represent up to 36% DM. Macro-nutrients: sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur, phosphorus... Trace elements: iron, zinc, copper, selenium, molybdenum, fluorine, manganese, boron, nickel, cobalt… Case of iodine: exceptionally rich in iodine, especially for brown seaweed (kelp) and red seaweed (Gracilaria) and can reach 10 000mg/ kg. Vitamins Red seaweed: provitamin A Green seaweed: vitamin C Brown seaweed: vitamins E,C The B vitamins are well represented (B2 and B3 in particular), with originality for B12 normally not found in plants. Microalgae: vitamins B1, B6, B12, C,E, K1 Antioxydants Macro and microalgae: Caratenoids between 0.1 and 0.2 % (Fucoxanthin, B-carotene, violaxanthin, zexanthine and lutein) Macroalgae: polyphenols (phlorotannins) can represent from 5 to 20% dry weight of brown seaweed. 26 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | May-June 2014 FEATURE
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  7. 7. LINKS • See the full issue • Visit the International Aquafeed website • Contact the International Aquafeed Team • Subscribe to International Aquafeed Assessing the potential of polychaete meal in shrimp feeds Prospects on dietary trace minerals – aquafeeds & aquaculture Volume 17 Issue 3 2014 - mAY | JuNe INCORPORATING FISH FARMING TECHNOLOGY Use of a heat-stable protease in salmonid feeds – experiences from Canada and Chile Fish Farming Technology supplement Nets and cages Recirculating aquaculture systems This digital re-print is part of the May | June 2014 edition of International Aquafeed magazine. Content from the magazine is available to view free-of-charge, both as a full online magazine on our website, and as an archive of individual features on the docstoc website. Please click here to view our other publications on To purchase a paper copy of the magazine, or to subscribe to the paper edition please contact our Circulation and Subscriptions Manager on the link above. INFORMATION FOR ADVERTISERS - CLICK HERE