The manufacturing process of fish feed typically involves the treatment of ingredients under elevated temperature (above 100°C) and elevated pressure. These are some of the key factors that contributes to fish feed with denatured nutrient content, which leads to a huge loss in terms of the ingredients being fed to the fish. During the feeding process, the nutrients within the fish feed are typically released in an uncontrolled manner, leading to a low feed conversion ratio.
This company is seeking a micro-encapsulation platform that can be applied onto existing fish feed formulations. Specifically, methods that can create a core-shell structure, to contain the feed and critical nutrients, thereby preventing the nutrients from being lost through denaturation during the manufacturing process and/or through leaching out via osmosis in water.
The proposed technologies can range from the use of novel ingredients for coating of the feed to novel heat treatment of fish feed. If the leaching is reduced, then the environmental impact of aquaculture is also reduced. Furthermore, the potentially increased retention of the micro-encapsulated nutrients inside the fish feed can offer nutrition with greater bioavailability of critical nutrients to the fish, specifically for the case of fish larvae. This in turn can increase the feed conversion ratio and significantly reduce costs for the aquaculture producers.
The company is willing to test the proposed solution with a fish feed for specific fishes, e.g. sea bream larvae, before expanding the test to more varieties upon success of the initial trial. Technology owners should be open to work closely with the company to test the solution and further develop the technology to meet their requirements.
The actual effectiveness of the proposed technology will need to be evaluated via test feed with live fish and specific nutrient mixes. It is very important that the processes or molecules involved in the technology are cost-efficient as fish feeds themselves are of low price and cannot be significantly increased as this is a low-margin industry.
The proposed solution should be able to achieve the following:
1. Be environmentally benign, biodegradable and suitable for consumption by animals.
2. Able to form a protective shell or encapsulate the desired contents, which includes but are not limited to vitamins such as vitamin K.
3. Withstand and protect the contents at temperatures of 100°C.
4. Release of the encapsulated contents should occur upon contact with water, ideally, over a specified period of time, ranging from 2 to 8 hours.