Fish Food For Thought

Fish Food For Thought

fish food

We are a household (and company!) of seafood fans – a type of food that, while delicious, is rife with sustainability problems up and down the chain. But scientists at two Singaporean universities have fired a new salvo in the green battle, by developing a new kind of farmed fish food. This change may seem small, but the fallout is significant. 

Traditional farmed food is made up of fish meal, or wild-caught fish ground up and made into calorie-dense cakes or powder. The production of fish meal is a secret mover in many of the world’s economies and is a giant strain on wild fish populations. The new food, developed as a co-pro between Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Temasek Polytechnic, is based on a single-celled protein isolated from microbes the the wastewater of soybean processing. Protecting wild fish and a clever use for food production waste? Yes, please!

“To demonstrate their approach, the team added soybean processing wastewater from a food processing company in Singapore into bioreactors – a controlled environment for biological and chemical reactions – to cultivate single cell protein. […]

After producing their single cell protein, the research team fed two groups of young Asian seabass over 24 days. One group received a conventional fishmeal diet, while the other group was fed a diet of half regular fishmeal and half single cell protein. Both diets provided the same amount of nutritional content for the young fish.

At the end of the experiment, the growth of both groups was evaluated, and researchers found that the fish had grown the same amount. Interestingly, the group of fish on the new diet showed more consistent and less variable growth than the traditional diet group.”

The team projects the consistent growth aspect will be particularly interesting to farmers – who are all about getting the plumpest bang for their buck, and therefore for their downline. The whole shebang represents a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way of stabilizing the industry too, pivoting it from a delicate source of wild protein to one that is nearly infinitely available. If that means more tasty, well-raised fish on my plate, I’m in!