UK-based ProChaete goes the extra mile with health tests on shrimp feed – Fishfarmer Magazine

UK-based ProChaete goes the extra mile with health tests on shrimp feed 20 January, 2014 –

As soon as ProChaete saw reports of a Thailand academic’s suspicion that eating marine worms (polychaetes) could be making shrimp broodstock carriers of EMS, the company immediately commissioned additional lab tests on its feed.

‘We have now had the additional test results from the University of Arizona Aquaculture Pathology Lab,’ says ProChaete CEO OddGeir Oddsen, ‘and I’m delighted to report that AHPND/EMS was not detected in any of the samples tested. Researchers from this university had already ascertained that the AHPNS pathogen is a unique strain of a common marine bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus . Clearly, there’s still a wide debate around the origins of EMS in shrimp, but we felt that anything we can do to help and reassure our customers is worth doing, so we instructed these additional tests as soon as we read the report of Professor Flegel’s work.’

In December, Shrimp News International carried a report on research by Professor Tim Flegel of Thailand’s National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC). He believes that outbreaks of EMS (early mortality syndrome), currently causing high losses to the shrimp industry, could stem from broodstock that have eaten polychaetes carrying a unique strain of V. parahaemolyticus bacteria in their gut, and thus becoming carriers of the disease.‘We have been aware throughout our development process that combatting disease is a prime concern for shrimp farmers,’ adds OddGeir Oddsen. ‘Biosecurity and strict quality control are therefore top of our agenda. There’s nothing new in feeding marine worms to farmed shrimp, either fresh or frozen. However, an important benefit for shrimp farmers is that ProChaete is growing marine worms in biosecure units in Europe, where there is no shrimp farming, and therefore shrimp diseases do not exist. In addition to this, as part of the process, our extruded feeds are heated to over 90℃ for a specified period, which effectively kills bacteria.’The marine worms farmed by ProChaete have also been tested to show freedom from the seven shrimp viruses on the OIE list.ProChaete can offer SPF (Specific Pathogen Free) product for all stages of shrimp production from broodstock and first-feeding larvae through to grow-out feeds, in a variety of formats and pack sizes.ProChaete, a member of the Seafresh Industry Group, was set up last year to fill a gap in the feed market. The company farms polychaetes (marine worms) in Wales and processes them in its custom-built feed plant, also in Wales. The company also aims to serve the market for finfish feed to help fulfil the need for ‘greener’ solutions.‘We are wary of the word “sustainability”, because it’s been over-used to the point where it’s become almost meaningless,’ says OddGeir Oddsen. ‘But it’s clear that there’s a mismatch between global supply of fish meal and the ever-increasing demand for aquaculture feeds. As the world’s population increases, the need to grow seafood increases. It’s become a matter of urgency to find new ways to feed farmed seafood without further depleting the world’s oceans. That’s been the guiding principle behind how we’ve built our company.’Research has shown that polychaetes offer many advantages to growers. They provide a highly valuable protein source, as good as if not better than fish meal. They have a good fatty acid profile, and contain factors which are important for the maturation process in many farmed species, addressing the fact that farmed seafood does not get access to the bromophenols found in the diets of wild species. Tasting panels also preferred fish fed with ProChaete feed.’Polychaetes are one of the natural flavour enhancers found in the marine environment,’ says OddGeir Oddsen. ‘We believe it makes sound business sense to work with Mother Nature rather than deplete marine resources.’www.prochaete.comYou can also follow ProChaete on Twitter @prochaete