A biotech startup has developed a sustainable alternative to traditional fish feed
Spotted: It is estimated that 16 of the 29 million tonnes of forage fish caught annually go towards fish feed. And if we continue at our current rate, demand for aquaculture feed will outstrip forage fish supply by 2037. Now, Italian company Ittinsect is producing nutritious fish feed through the biotechnological treatment of new ingredients, including insects, microalgae, and agricultural by-products.
Ittinsect’s mission is to support fish farmers without negatively impacting the marine environment and provide an alternative to using fish from the sea for feed. The company takes its chosen ingredients and uses its patent-pending treatment to improve their bioavailability eight times. This means that the amount of nutrients that can be readily absorbed is increased eight-fold. Ittinsect highlights that its products are cost-effective – as a fish fed with Ittinsect feed has faster and more constant growth, a stronger immune system, and a lower risk of digestive system inflammation than one fed with traditional feed.
Every kilogramme of feed in the Ittinsect Natura T-line generates approximately 10 per cent fewer emissions than traditional feed. The company projects that, this year, its feed will help stop over 2,000 tonnes CO2-equivalent emissions from being released, while saving 45 million units of marine-sourced fish.
The startup recently raised €625,000. Combined with public grants and prizes, the Ittinsect’s funding will be over €750,000, allowing the company to continue developing its biotech research.
Springwise has spotted many innovators seeking to improve the sustainability of aquaculture. For instance, researchers have discovered that feeding salmon waxworms appeared more digestible than a regular diet. At the same time, a startup created a vertical farm to provide locally sourced microgreens and sustainably raised bass.
Written By: Anam Alam