CORDIS - EU research results

AQUAculture and Agriculture BIOmass side stream PROteins and bioactives for Feed, FITness and health promoting nutritional supplements

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - AQUABIOPROFIT (AQUAculture and Agriculture BIOmass side stream PROteins and bioactives for Feed, FITness and health promoting nutritional supplements)

Reporting period: 2021-04-01 to 2022-12-31

Large amounts of fish and side streams from fisheries or aquaculture are wasted or underutilized in animal feeds in Europe. Cage farming effluents, namely uneaten feeds and faeces, and nutrients from municipal, agricultural, and other industrial activities contribute with hundreds of thousand tons nutrient rich side stream biomasses still containing proteins, bioactive peptides, LCω-3PUFAs, organic minerals, vitamins and more, that to be collected, preserved, extracted, and used for higher value products, considerable investments and new knowledge development is needed. Reliable documentation and consumer education as well as the establishment of appropriate legislative framework, are also indispensable so that developed products successfully reach and establish in the markets. The objective of AQUABIOPRO-FIT is to contribute to European food securing, increasing the volumes of food from the sea, removing bottlenecks and filling gaps of knowledge, by interdisciplinary collaboration of experts to develop ingredients and products from lipids, proteins, and other bioactive ingredients from marine biomass. To this aim the project thoroughly documents the functionality of the new products in aquaculture as well as in major target groups, such as athletes, consumers of fitness and beauty products and specific patient groups. Pelagia, a large rendering company of fish side stream biomass, Seagarden a b2b processing SME producing high value marine raw materials based on among other white fish side stream biomass, and Marine Feed, a tunicate producer have been members of the consortium, already possessing relevant products in the market. Our consortium includes highly recognised research, academic and vocational training organisations which ensure the development of quality materials, scalable technologies, standardised methods, training protocols and appropriate documentation of biological activity. Environmental engineers and economists fine-tune the project products to comply with demanding financial and environmental sustainability principles.
At project start, the project identity was created, establishing the project logo, website ( and reporting/presentation templates. Market opportunities and barriers, such as potential patents limiting the exploitation of the project results and competing products in the market were identified early on. Side stream materials from fisheries and aquaculture (heads, guts, backbones, skin, liver, gills and fillets from Atlantic salmon, European seabass, Gilthead seabream, blue whiting, herring, and mackerel) were analysed extensively for their content in proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, macro- and trace minerals, as well as undesirable compounds. Ciona intestinalis culture was established, and the production has been successful yielding biomasses for both tests and commercial applications, including studying the rheological properties of the material in the production of extruded feeds for Atlantic salmon and food such as ciona fond, ciona cream and ciona burgers. Co-culturing Ciona intestinalis with salmonids in RAS and macroalgae in the sea was also tested. Innovative processing methods for fish side streams for the production of food and nutritional supplement ingredients for humans were identified, including conventional and non-conventional technologies such as heat processing, chemical and enzymatic hydrolysis, filtration, Supercritical CO2 extraction and pulse electric fields. Lab, pilot, and large-scale trials have been performed and prototype ingredients (protein hydrolysates from different fish fractions and species, including marine collagen and oils, and healthier meat and fish cake products with marine extracts) tested for safety and bioactivity in relevant biochemical, in cell culture and mice model studies. Based on the screening results we designed the nutritional supplements for the planed clinical studies, and produced them in the consortium factories (Seagarden and Nofima). The ingredient and product sensory properties have been extensively studied and the presentation of the supplements to the clinical study participants defined (smoothie for the athletes and tablets/capsules for the skin, hair and nail, anxiety, and pH balance trials). Clinical study protocols, volunteer selection questionnaires, and ethical committee approvals were prepared, and the trials were completed successfully. Technical, economic, social, and environmental evaluation of the AQUABIOPRO-FIT technologies has been performed by Life cycle cost analysis and life cycle assessment. The project’s data management, communication and dissemination plans were followed through the project. Project data were stored on line, published in newsletters, repositories, open access scientific journals, press releases, popular magazines, social media and presented in conferences, webinars and workshops. Training modules on selected project themes offering participation certificate are created and available online for free. The industrial partners are further developing the project technologies and investing in relevant processing equipment and facilities, for biomass hydrolysis, separation, drying and ciona ingredient harvesting and processing.
The most significant scientific and technological achievements of AQUABIOPRO-FIT are: Extensive characterisation and publication documentation for the nutritional quality and unique bioactivity of a long list of fish side stream ingredients and documentation in model and clinical studies with different groups of people; Development and verification up to industrial scale innovative processes for the refinement of marine hydrolysates including collagen, and have characterised and improved their organoleptic characteristics; Establishment of commercial Ciona intestinalis cultivation and production, for first time globally, a Ciona fond and cream and burger for human consumption and meals in pilot-large scale for use in fish feeds; Creation of unique healthier meat product prototypes with biobased marine extracts; and Production of unique training modules for the developed processes and documentation studies.
The potential impacts of our project results include: Creation of new, more socially and environmentally sustainable and lucrative ways to use marine biomass; Establishing technologies and documentation for the production of more and highly nutritious food to prevent food waste, human health, and promote circular economy and reduce EU countries’ dependency on imports in food and feed; Creation of incentives and knowledge-based foundations for the establishment of new businesses in coastal European regions; Creation of educational training courses to increase capacities among workers and support the development of a knowledge based circular economy society where men and women can have equal opportunities and decent income; Contribution in reducing the pressure from human food production activities on the biodiversity on land and in the water.
Salmon by products/ heads and backbones
Production of nutritional supplement for clinical trials 2
Production of nutritional supplement for clinical trials 1
Herring by products/heads
Mackrell skin