Overfishing is destroying ocean ecosystems, but aquaculture can increase food production while maintaining ocean health. However, to be sustainable, we need new sources of inexpensive omega-3 fatty acids.
Currently, the aquaculture industry obtains omega-3 fatty acids by harvesting “forage fish” and by recycling the “offal” from fish heads, flesh and organs removed in cleaning and packaging. Between 1990 and 2020, the salmon aquaculture industry reduced wild capture fish from 24% to 12% of its total feed. However, aquaculture production increased more than three-fold in that time, so the industry is seeking new sources of omega-3.
Further reduction in the fish oil content of aquaculture feed compromises fish health, and consumers look for omega-3 levels on labels while shopping. Therefore, we are developing a new source of animal-free omega-3 fatty acids using yeast fermentation.
This work was recognized by The Global Aquaculture Challenge for innovation in Aquaculture