Aarhus Universitets segl

Worms as fish feed

The project aims to develop and implement novel methods for sustainable industrial-scale production of new healthy live feed for juvenile fish, disrupting the fish producer’s dependence on traditional organisms such as rotifers and Artemia, making fish production more sustainable. The project will use two enchytraeids (E. albidus and L. rivalis), which are sufficiently nutritious for sound development and growth of marine fish and can replace traditional live feed. One of the advantages of enchytraeids as live feed is that they can de novo synthesize essential highly unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which circumvents the need for enrichment with fish oil, currently utilized for rotifer and Artemia enrichment. Furthermore, the project aims to carry out innovative research with the applied purpose to develop a cheap and efficient cryopreservation method applicable to enchytraeids on an industrial level by exploiting their natural cold tolerance. A novel cryopreservation technique will ensure long shelf life and stable supplies of live feed to the fish producers.

The project's research will fill a critical knowledge gap that, at present, limits the production of high-value species of fish. The implementation of the project results will support ecologically and climatically sustainable production of healthy food sources (fish). The proposed production of live feed organisms has a circular bioeconomy perspective using industrial waste products as feed for the enchytraeids. Further, the project will support fish welfare through better fish health and reduced cannibalism.

The project is a collaboration between Climate stress lab at Aarhus University and the company Fishlab.

The criteria for success. At the end of the project, we have developed protocols for an environmental and economic sustainable mass production of enchytraeids, and Fishlab has started mass-production of both E. albidus and L. rivalis. We have established protocols and developed a practicable commercial solution for the cryopreservation of enchytraeids. We have shown that thawed enchytraeid is suitable as live feed in terms of attractiveness to different fish species and their nutritional composition.

The project is financed by