F3 Krill Replacement Challenge: Could phytonutrients replace krill?

Malaysia-based company, JF Nutritech, aims to replace krill meal with a patented 100% natural specialty lipid formula.

From left to right: Markus Chin, Elisa Lim and Ivan Quah, the JF Nutritech team
August 15, 2023

Malaysia-based company, JF Nutritech, is one of the registrants of the F3 Krill Replacement Challenge. The company aims to replace krill meal with a patented 100% natural specialty lipid formula, Phytofat Ruby, that harnesses the power of phytonutrients sourced from RSPO-certified palm oil.

“At the heart of our innovation lies our proprietary First Cut Technology, which allows us to not only preserve but also concentrate the nutritional antioxidants abundant in palm oil, including natural carotenoids like β-carotene and essential vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols),” Markus Chin, business development manager at JF Nutritech, told

The formula boasts advantages that span the spectrum of aquatic health, from serving as an energy source to bolstering immune functions, accelerating growth rates, and even enhancing reproductive performance. “Moreover, our product showcases its prowess by contributing to pigmentation and overall fish and shrimp well-being. Its natural palatability and high digestibility further cement its position as an optimal choice for aquatic animals, ensuring not only their health but also their consumption,” Markus Chin said.

The product has been tested in commonly cultured species in Malaysia, from fish (red snapper, seabass and pomfret) to shrimp (whiteleg and tiger shrimp). “Many farms showed improved survival, color and meat quality with no negative effects on fish growth or body composition,” Markus Chin explained. “In terms of attractability and palatability, tests performed by farmers found no issues whether in shrimp or fish, equaling and even surpassing existing conventional feed brands.”

“Fillet texture remains unchanged. Our blind taste survey showed that adding Phytofat Ruby to shrimp and fish improves their taste compared to regular farmed ones and lab tests revealed higher tocopherol and tocotrienol levels in the flesh,” Markus Chin said.

The ingredient may be vacuum coated into feed or extruded along with the raw ingredients of the intended feed. “However, the key to retaining the nutrients in our Phytofat Ruby brand is to avoid processing equipment at high temperatures where the phytonutrients start to denature,” explained Markus Chin.

In terms of price, Markus Chin said that “Phytofat Ruby is formulated primarily from palm oil, which is one of the most abundantly produced and cost-efficient vegetable oils available in the global market. This reliability in palm oil supply ensures consistency and its competitive pricing makes it a more economical option when compared to using krill-based ingredients.”

“Our farmers have reported significant enhancements in their farming practices, leading to improved harvests and better produce quality. These positive outcomes have effectively justified their investment in Phytofat Ruby,” Markus Chin stated.

“Krill-based ingredients offer several advantages in aquafeeds from its nutritional content. However, using krill has many environmental implications and thus, moving forward, we believe that finding alternatives to krill is necessary for a sustainable and growing aquaculture industry. F3 Krill Replacement Challenge offers a chance to gauge how other ingredients would work. We are glad to be a part of the challenge, setting ourselves on a stage alongside worldwide representatives, working towards a common goal and collaborative vision together,” Markus Chin concluded.

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