Alternative Aquafeed Proteins for Sustainable Farmed-Raised Seafood

Full Title: Cell-cultured Fishmeal as an Alternative Protein in Aquafeed for Sustainable Production of Locally Produced Farmed-Raised Seafood in Florida.
Seafood, rich in nutrients, is crucial for food security and economic development, yet its supply faces challenges from resource depletion and climate change. To support sustainable seafood production, this project aims to use cellular agriculture to produce fishmeal as an alternative to marine-based sources, studying its effects on fish production and assessing its acceptance among aquaculture producers.
Lead Investigator: Razieh Farzad, Assistant professor UF
Project Team: Catherine Campbell Assistant Professor UF, Ana Martin-Ryals Assistant Professor UF, Ali Tamayol Associate Professor University of Connecticut.
Collaborator: Aquasafra Inc, InprintBio, UmamiMeats
Award Amount: $199,661
Year Funded: 2024
Award Period: 2024-2026
Project Abstract:

Packed with nutrients, seafood can contribute significantly to ensuring food and nutrition security and improving overall health and economic development. However, the seafood supply is under increasing pressure as wild reserves become scarce due to widespread resource depletion, climate change, and growing populations. With rising pressures on capture fisheries, global fish demand is increasingly being met by aquaculture. The rapid expansion of the aquaculture industry poses some challenges to producers, such as the lack of high-quality, affordable aquafeed, which is a fundamental component of aquaculture operations. Conventional aquafeed’s primary protein source is fishmeal from marine-based forage fish. Due to the price instability of fishmeal and significant projected increases in aquaculture production, there has been an interest in alternative protein sources for aquafeed production. Therefore, the overall goal of our proposal is to support sustainable local seafood production by using the advances in cellular agriculture to produce a cell-cultured source of fishmeal with a comparable nutritional profile to marine-based fishmeal. We will use tilapia as an animal model to study the effect of cell-cultured fishmeal on fish production. We will also seek insight into aquaculture producers’ potential acceptance of cell-cultured fishmeal. To explore the sustainability implications of cell-cultured fishmeal production, we will conduct a Life Cycle Assessment of marine-based versus cell-cultured fishmeal production methods. By supporting the production of a safe, local, and sustainable seafood supply, our proposal is directly in line with the Florida Sea Grant’s Strategic Plan “Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture” focus area.


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