TerraVia and Bunge Ltd. announced about the launch of native, whole-algae docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as a sustainable specialty feed ingredient, prioritizing the aquaculture market, which currently uses approximately $3 billion in omega-3 ingredients.
DHA, a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid, is a critical element for humans, animals and fish to promote healthy growth and development.
TerraVia and Bunge also announced that a definitive commercial supply agreement is finalized with one of the world’s largest aquaculture feed suppliers and DHA is slated to begin incorporation into fish feed for salmonids in the July to August 2016 time frame.
“We’re excited to build on our experience in the food and feed ingredients industries to bring a new sustainable and value-added source of DHA to the market at the quality, cost and scale the global aquaculture industry needs,” Bunge chief executive officer Soren Schroder said.
“The new product can be a real game changer in keeping our oceans healthy by offering a non-marine based, sustainable source of omega-3s to help address the growing ‘fish in/fish out’ problem today,” TerraVia CEO Jonathan Wolfson added. “It provides a far more sustainable, non-fish-based source of DHA to help maintain healthy oceans while improving the nutritional value of seafood for our families.”
Long-chain omega-3s such as DHA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are critical inputs used extensively in aquaculture feed, with fish oil and fish meal being the main sources. The demand for omega-3s is growing, but the availability of omega-3s from wild-caught ocean fish is limited in nature.
Aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing food production systems in the world, and the market is estimated to reach $200 billion annually by 2020. This growth is helping drive increasing demand for long-chain omega-3s, particularly as global supplies of the traditional sources are under serious and increasing pressure from overfishing, quotas and rising demand for human and animal nutrition.
“Aquaculture is becoming an increasingly important contributor to the global food system. To meet the continuing growth in demand for fish oil and fish meal, sustainable alternatives are needed,” said Piers Hart, aquaculture policy officer at World Wildlife Fund in the U.K. “We are eager to see sustainable sources of omega-3-rich oils come to market at scale and reduce pressure on scarce marine resources. The high yield and potentially reduced environmental footprint of algae products produced at SB Renewable Oils in Brazil could make this a more sustainable source of fish feed ingredients.”
The SB Renewable Oils facility adheres to the principles of sustainable production to produce algae-based products with low carbon, water and land use impacts. This is enabled partly by the use of Bonsucro-certified sugarcane as the feedstock.