Super-Nutritious Fishmeal Replacement
Half the Price of Fishmeal!
At the World Aquaculture Society Meeting in San Diego (March 2010), Andrew Logan, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development, at Oberon FMR, Inc., gave a presentation on how his company uses food-grade by-products to produce bioflocs that it processes into a nutritious feed ingredient. Basically, the company mixes agriculture wastes with water, oxygen and some common bacteria to produce bioflocs, from which it harvests the ingredient. The start-up conditions in Oberon’s system differ from those in biofloc shrimp ponds, but the end product, the biofloc, is about the same. The ingredient that Oberon produces from its biofloc has crude protein in excess of 63%, an amino acid profile similar to fishmeal, and it can be produced for about half the price of fishmeal (more about prices below). The “F•M•R” in Oberon’s name stands for “Fish Meal Replacement”.
Feeding trials have proven the ingredient’s efficacy in feeds for tilapia, rainbow trout, salmon—and shrimp (Penaeus vannamei).
Complete replacement of fishmeal in shrimp feeds may be possible with this biofloc-based feed ingredient!
Oberon’s development plan includes commercial-scale production beginning in 2010 with an initial production rate of approximately 5,500 tons per year. It hopes to be producing 40,000 tons a year by 2015.
Shrimp News Interviews Andy Logan
Shrimp News: Can your product (see table) compete with fishmeal?
Andy Logan: With fishmeal at around $2,000 a ton, we are targeting our product at $1,000 a ton. As we grow, our ability to reduce costs will benefit the industry more and more.
Shrimp News: During your presentation in San Diego, you said you used food-grade by-products to produce your biofloc. What are some of the by-products?
Andy Logan: We use the wastes that come from human food production processes like brewing operations, wet corn milling, sugar production and potato processing. We don’t use animal manures or anything that is not food grade. The floc that we produce is very similar to the floc in shrimp ponds.
Shrimp News: Are you planning any more feeding trials with shrimp?
Andy Logan: Yes, we plan to run trials this summer in South America and at Texas A&M University, and we expect to publish some rather dramatic results on our product before the end of the year.
Shrimp News: What do you culture the biofloc in?
Andy Logan: Outdoor concrete tanks. One reactor is about the size of a football field.
Shrimp News: How do you get the floc out of the tanks?
Andy Logan: We use centrifuges or filter presses to harvest the bioflocs prior to drying.
Shrimp News: How do climate and temperature affect the system?
Andy Logan: Climate and temperature play a role, but a small one. This is mostly due to the fact that the upstream food processing operation generally adds a lot of heat to the water, which provides a minimum temperature all year round.
Shrimp News: Do you use proprietary bacteria in the tanks?
Andy Logan: We use commonly occurring bacteria. From them, we’ve developed an in-house strain that we use to seed our system. Using operational and environmental controls, we create an environment that gives our strain a competitive advantage over the other bacteria in the system. They wind up dominating the system. They are the ones that know how to make protein.
Shrimp News: Since your floc is not that much different from the floc produced in shrimp ponds, what’s to prevent a shrimp farm from processing its own floc?
Andy Logan: Nothing! In fact, we are actually considering setting up a consulting arm to help shrimp farmers manage and utilize their floc. But, keep in mind, the costs of drying, processing and packaging floc are high, and the process demands a ton of expertise. It has to be done on a large scale to make it profitable. Small shrimp farms can benefit from using their floc while it’s still in the aqueous phase.
Shrimp News: How much biofloc does one reactor produce?
Andy Logan: Between fifteen and eighty tons of biofloc a day. It’s then processed and dried so that it’s shelf stable.
Shrimp News: How do you plan to market the product?
Andy Logan: The interest from the shrimp farming industry has been great, and many major feed companies have approached us for exclusive agreements—for everything we produce. What I actually think will happen is that we will be working with several smaller feed companies, but over time as we ramp up our production, we’ll bring in bigger and bigger players who are looking for 10,000 to 20,000 tons per year.
Shrimp News: How difficult is it going to be to ramp up to full-scale production?
Andy Logan: We’ve been working on this for ten years and have had an engineering partner for the last two years who works on that specific question. We were consultants to the wastewater industries before we got into this. All the products for our system are available right off the shelf and can be assembled quickly. It’s really the bacterial physiology that is our area of expertise. We can design and implement a reactor within a nine-month period.
Shrimp News: How is your company structured?
Andy Logan: We’re financed with venture capital and plan to stay private.
Information: You can view a news report on Oberon’s operations at http://www.oberonfmr.com/press.htm. When the page opens, click on +Audio/Video.
Information: Andrew Logan, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development, Oberon FMR, Inc., 831 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302, USA (phone 1-303-889-9123, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.oberonfmr.com/contact.htm).
Information: John Cooksey, World Aquaculture Conference Management, P.O. Box 2302, Valley Center, California 92082, USA (phone 1-760-751-5005, fax 1-760-751-5003, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage https://www.was.org/Main/Default.asp).
Sources: 1. World Aquaculture Society. The CD/Abstracts of World Aquaculture 2010. Biofloc by the Truckload: A New Aquafeed Ingredient from Oberon FMR, Inc. Andrew J. Logan. San Diego, California, USA, March 2010. 2. Oberon FMR’s Webpage on June 10, 2010. 3. Andy Logan, telephone interview by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International. June 10, 2010.
Belize Aquaculture’s Shrimp Available Nationally in the USA
CleanFish, a company that provides marketing services to producers of high-quality seafood, has recently expanded its sales of farmed shrimp from Belize Aquaculture Limited (BAL), which produces about 8,000 metric tons of shrimp a year from one of the most advanced shrimp farms in the world. Long a staple at Wegmans markets, CleanFish will now sell BAL’s CleanFish Alliance Caribbean White Shrimp to retailers across the USA. CleanFish says it can offer its customers a shrimp with a super-sweet taste, purity and cutting-edge environmental stewardship that gives it one of the tiniest eco-footprints of any protein available.
Belize Aquaculture has its own broodstock and hatchery facilities and produces 37,000 pounds of shrimp per acre a year. Sir Barry Bowen, 64, perhaps the best-known shrimp farmer in the Western Hemisphere and the founder and owner of Belize Aquaculture, Ltd., died in a plane crash on Friday, February 26, 2010.
The one pound retail bags of frozen CleanFish Alliance Caribbean White Shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) are available in two formats: Easy Peel, Tail-on, 31/40s; and Cooked P&D, Tail-on, 41/50s. Bags are UPC coded and retail ready. In addition to CleanFish Alliance Caribbean White Shrimp, BAL also produces Laughing Bird Shrimp, a fresh, never-frozen, hand-peeled product from BAL.
Information: Tim O’Shea, Founder and CEO, CleanFish, 42 Decatur Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA (phone 1-415-626-3500, fax 1-415-626-2505, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.cleanfish.com).
Sources: 1. Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). CleanFish Expands Retail Sales of Farmed Shrimp; Makes Case White Shrimp Totally Sustainable. Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). June 4, 2010. 2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News Internatiional, June 14, 2010.
El Niño/La Niña
Conditions are favorable for El Niño to transition into a La Niña during June–August 2010.
Source: Climate Prediction Center. El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion (a downloadable PDF or Word file). June 3, 2010.
EU Inspection of Aquaculture and Fisheries
From June 2 to June 8, 2010, a delegation of European officials from the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Commission on Health and Consumer Protection inspected Ecuador’s fisheries and aquaculture industries. A report should be available by the end of the summer.
Tropical Storm Agatha Floods Low-lying Shrimp Farms
The strong rains that accompanied tropical storm Agatha have racked up losses of more than $1.5 million for Honduran shrimp farmers, but fears of greater destruction abound. According to Benjamin Bogran, the executive director of the Honduran Council of Private Companies, “There is widespread concern over the possible effect the substantial rain could have on the diminution of the salt concentration in the lagoons, where shrimp is produced.”
Along the low-lying coast of the Gulf of Fonseca, shrimp farms occupy 14,500 hectares. The recent rains have blocked access to a large number of them. Marco Polo Micheletti, executive director of the National Aquaculturists Association of Honduras (ANDAH), said the situation is serious due to the destruction of access roads and because many farms initiate their first harvests at this time of year.
For a long report on the flooding in this area during Hurricane Mitch in 1998, click here.
Farmed Shrimp Exports Expected to Increase in 2010
Marco Polo Micheletti, executive director of the National Aquaculture Association of Honduras (ANDAH), said, “We started the harvest which lasts almost two months. Several companies have begun the process of exports, and the goal is to sell more than 45 million pounds of shrimp on the international market.”
Honduras exports shrimp to other Central American countries, the European Union and the United States. In 2009, it exported $200 million worth of farmed shrimp and expects to surpass that figure by 5% in 2010.
National Prawn Company Forecasting 43,000 Metric Tons a Year by 2012
“Let’s open a prawn farm about five times the size of Bermuda in the desert.”
Twenty-eight years ago that idea appealed to Ahmad R. Al Balla, and today it has become the National Prawn Company, the largest shrimp farm in the Middle East, a farm that adheres to the highest environmental standards. In 2005, NPC received its license to export shrimp to the European Union. Today, the farm produces nearly 15,000 metric tons of farmed shrimp a year, making shrimp Saudi’s second biggest export to Japan after oil. By the end of 2012, a second phase of development should be completed with the potential of increasing production to 43,000 tons a year.
Laurence Cook, communications director for the company, says, “The 12 farms we have now, with roughly 28 ten-hectare ponds each, allow us to have a low-density population of shrimp, about 18 per square meter.”
At its isolated site on the Red Sea south of Jeddah, it has created a community that includes over 2,500 employees, a 21.6 MW power station, a feed mill, a road building and maintenance facility, community services, recreational facilities, a clinic and an international school for the employees’ families.
Its hatchery produces four million postlarvae a day—soon to be increased to eight million, for the planned expansion.
Sea cucumbers—thousands of them—lie quietly on the bottom of NPC’s treatment ponds, munching away on the organic wastes (sludge) that accumulate there. When they get big enough, the sea cucumbers will be removed, dried and sold to Asian markets for up to $150 a kilo. NPC breeds sea cucumbers on site and already has its seedstock ready for the next crop.
For now and for the foreseeable future, shrimp will be NPC’s central business, and freshness will be its key selling point. Harvested at night and transported in sea ice (at -4°C), NPC’s shrimp are in the processing plant within an hour. In two hours, they are chilled and processed, and in seven hours, they are packed and frozen to between -18°C and -20°C.
Head-on shrimp are the company’s biggest product, but it also sells head-off product. The heads are not wasted. They are converted to chitin, a polysaccharide that has numerous uses like purifying wastewater, thickening and stabilizing foods and pharmaceuticals, sizing and strengthening paper, wound-healing, treating arthritis, and as a binder for dyes, fabrics and adhesives.
Ten Years Ago
National Prawn Company: On June 27, 2000, Siva Kumar Gangadharan, senior aquaculturist at the National Prawn Company, reported: National Prawn Company is going to be one of the largest vertically integrated shrimp farming projects in the Middle East, capable of producing 10,000 metric tons of shrimp a year. It will have 250 10-hectare growout ponds. Hatcheries, feed mills and processing are under development, and the farm expects its first harvest in 2001.
Employment: The National Prawn Company placed a full-page ad in the July/August 2000 issue of Aquaculture Magazine [no longer in business] seeking several high level managers, including hatchery and pond managers, for its farm in Saudi Arabia. The ad also included this information on the project:
The National Prawn Company is an offshoot of three big business groups in Saudi Arabia: Al Rajhi, Al-Balla and Al Sobaiy, representing banking, finance, agriculture, fisheries, fertilizer, software and hardware. The project is located on the southern coast of the Red Sea, at Al-Lith. It is in the process of establishing one of the world’s largest vertically integrated desert aquaculture projects. The infrastructure includes a state of the art processing plant, feed mill, hatchery (600 million PLs a year) and, of course, growout operations along a 46-kilometer stretch of land, with 3,000 hectares of ponds (2 crops per year).
Source: World Shrimp Farming 2000 (out of print, series terminated in 2006). Shrimp News International. Saudi Arabia/National Prawn Company/Employment. Number 13, Page 153, December 6, 2010.
Sponsored by Sea Grant, the University of Alaska, NOAA and the seafood industry, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward, Alaska, continues to study the feasibility of a commercial hatchery for red king crab. In 2010, for the second consecutive year, the hatchery produced over 100,000 first stage juvenile red king crabs. Alaska Sea Grant research biologists Jim Swingle and Ben Daly achieved over 50% survival to the postlarval (glaucothoe) stage and 20% to the first juvenile stage (C1).
Spring 2010 experiments looked at the effects of temperature, stocking density and diet on larvae survival. The larval period (hatching to C1) was 35 days at 12°C compared to 50 days at 8°C. Similar percent survival was seen at both temperatures, suggesting that warmer rearing temperature can shorten the amount of time needed to produce an equivalent number of juveniles, thereby reducing operating costs and increasing hatchery productivity.
Each year hatchery researchers have built on experimental results from the previous year to further refine larval rearing techniques and protocols. As a result, red king crab hatchery production has increased steadily from less than 1,000 juveniles in 2007 to 108,000 juveniles in 2010. The juveniles produced in 2010 will be used in experiments to investigate large-scale nursery requirements, tagging techniques and ecological fitness of hatchery-cultured king crabs.
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Project to Commercialize Red King Crab Hatchery Progresses; With 2nd Year of over 100,000 Juveniles. Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email email@example.com). June 2, 2010.
Louisiana—Certified Wild-Caught Shrimp
On June 7, 2010, the Louisiana Legislature passed two bills, backed by Governor Bobby Jindal, that will create a program to market and certify Louisiana’s wild-caught shrimp. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will oversee the program. Any product falsely sold as Louisiana shrimp will be removed from the market. The program will include subsidies to seafood harvesters and processors to help them with the certification requirements. The money will come from a fund created to help with the construction of artificial reefs.
Information: The new bills (House Bills 890 and 1346) can be found at http://www.legis.state.la.us.
Source: EyewitnessNewsKIFY. Shrimp Certification Program Created. Associated Press. June 8, 2010.
New York—Shrimp Allergies Dissipate with Age
A new study finds that adults who are allergic to shrimp tend to have a less intense immune-system reaction than children—raising the possibility that some allergy sufferers build up a tolerance to shrimp as they grow older.
Allergies to shrimp are common. Reactions range from mild symptoms, like nasal congestion and hives, to serious or even life-threatening problems, including severe airway constriction and sudden drops in blood pressure. These allergies also tend to be long-lasting, often persisting into adulthood. But little is known about how children and adults differ in their immune response to shrimp proteins.
In a study that appeared in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers looked at this question using blood samples from 34 children and 19 adults with a history of allergic reactions to shrimp.
Using immunoglobulin E (IgE, a class of antibody that produces more antibodies), the researchers found that children’s IgE blood levels of antibodies against shrimp were typically four times higher than those of adults. The children’s antibodies also tended to bind to more shrimp proteins and to bind to those proteins more strongly. The findings are the first to show that children tend to have a stronger immune-system sensitization to shrimp than adults.
The researchers note that the study did not follow participants over time, and it’s not known at what age they first became sensitized to shrimp. So it is unclear whether the adults were sensitized in childhood and then gradually had a reduction in their shrimp antibodies.
However, the findings do suggest that allergic reactions to shrimp may wane with age. And that, the researchers say, means it may be worthwhile for adults with a history of shrimp allergies to undergo objective testing, with a food challenge, to see whether they have built up a tolerance.
Food challenges—where the allergy patient consumes the suspect food under medical supervision to see if it triggers a reaction—are considered the “gold standard” for diagnosing food allergies.
There are other tests as well—the skin-prick tests and antibody blood tests—but they are not always an accurate measure of whether a food will trigger a physical reaction. In one recent study, half of participants with either a history of reactions to shrimp or positive results on skin-prick or blood testing were able to eat shrimp proteins without a problem during a food challenge.
Source: Reuters. Reuters Health. Shrimp Allergies May Wane with Age. June 2, 2010.