Chilean researchers will test Antarctic microalgae in salmon feeds. The microalgae Chloromonas reticulata produces an average of 2.5% weight of astaxanthin.
Manuel Alarcón Vivero, an academic from the Aquaculture Institute of the Austral University of Chile, leads an awarded FONDEF IDeA R&D project, called Optimization of the cultivation of microalgae isolated from Antarctica, for sustainable production of functional ingredients, included in the formulation of feed for the salmon industry. BioMar and the Technological Institute of Salmon (Intesal) are among the partners of the project.
Alarcón, together with Claudio Rivas, student of the Doctorate in Aquaculture Sciences, isolated the microalgae Chloromonas reticulata in Antarctica. Researchers will now develop a bioreactor prototype to achieve large-scale production of the microalgae and will perform toxicity bioassays in salmon and mammals, despite having previously found that this microalga is not toxic.
The project is not only aimed at salmon aquafeeds, said Alarcón. “Once this project is proven, we plan to focus on a food line for humans, since the algae not only produce this pigment but also healthy fatty acids and have a large amount of protein. Our idea would be to be able to produce algae on a large scale and become a healthy food – nutraceutical – both for human and salmon companies.”