(Madison WI, USA) Xylome won an international award for innovation in aquaculture.
Xylome is creating technology for an inexpensive and sustainable aquaculture feed. This process will convert residual agricultural byproducts into polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (PUFA), which will be fed to cultured salmon. The omega−3 fatty acids α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are essential for human physiology. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the cardiovascular system, they build neurons in infants and adults, and the human body cannot make them on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids make fish a healthy nutrition choice.
Fish such as salmon, halibut, and mackerel obtain ALA, EPA and DHA by eating plankton, diatoms and microscopic marine organisms known as thraustochytrids. These omega-3 fatty acids move up the food chain, and humans consume them through capture fisheries.
Over fishing is destroying ocean ecosystems, but aquaculture can increase food production while maintaining ocean health. However, to be sustainable, science must create 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, Xylome is creating solutions through biotechnology and genetic engineering by developing a new source of animal-free omega-3 fatty acids using a novel engineered yeast.
Kelleher and Jeffries founded Xylome to convert waste residuals from ethanol production into high value food ingredients. Their initial efforts led to YoilTM – a sustainable, renewable palm oil made through fermentation. Their latest efforts are extending this technology to produce long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Learn more about The Global Aquaculture Challenge award