Have you been wanting to know some of the good sources of minerals in aqualife? Or asked “Why are Microalgae good source of minerals in aquaculture?”
If yes, then I welcome you, as this resource would educate you more on such topic.
Before we talk about Microalgae being a good source of minerals, lets first ensure that we know what a microalga is.
So, permit me to ask…
What Are Microalgae?
Microalgae which are also referred to as microphytes are microscopic algae unable to be seen (invisible) by the naked eye.
More so, they are regarded as phytoplankton commonly seen in marine and freshwater systems, dwelling in both the sediment and water column.
(Microalgae) Good Source Of Minerals In Aquaculture – Overview
While aquaculture tends to go beyond becoming dependent on fish oil and fishmeal, farmers ought to make sure that feed continually provides quality nutritional profile for the welfare of their farm animals.
This however, involves supplementing minerals and vitamins that may be provided via fish oil or/and fishmeal.
In addition, a lot of studies showed microalgae to be primary producers for omega-3 fatty acids [EPA/DHA], thereby promisingly substituting unsustainable and unaffordable fish oil from fisheries.
Recently, a few research was carried out on the additional potential of Microalgae in terms of mineral supplementation.
Well, it’s obvious that the Wageningen University Researchers are the pioneers in the investigation or discovery of a selenium-enriched marine microalgae (as a crucial mineral supplement in aquafeeds).
It’s worthy to note that Selenium is vital for proper immune system functioning, as well as fish development.
When Selenium is absent (deficiency), such could obstruct immune responses, adversely affect the growth, as well as rapidly increase mortalities.
Furthermore, you should know that all supplements are not created equal, as few inorganic mineral mixes are said to be less bioavailable.
This implies that the minerals or however, nutrient is in a form that could be absorbed in the gut, other than just going through as waste.
Again, Researchers discovered that selenium-enriched microalgae is a better bioavailable source of the mineral when compared to the traditional inorganic mineral mixes comprising selenium.
Additionally, Selenium in microalgae could be stored in amino acids –which are said to be fundamental in fish dietary.
Moving forward, the marine microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica, which is already in use in aqua-farming, was chosen due to its capacity to grow in several cultivation channel, high EPA content, robustness.
Kindly note that this enrichment process was demonstrated at industrial scale, and is already in use by SPAROS –a GAIN project partner.
Why Microalgae Are Regarded As Good Source Of Minerals In Aquaculture
Selenium-enriched microalgae possess a high bioavailability, and can be farmed throughout a year.
They are also non-disruptive, adds value to ingredients that are already in use in the feeds.
More so, the selenium content of terrestrial-sourced ingredients are different due to soil composition, and further lacks the optimum ratios of amino acids.
But, the uptake of selenium into the microalgae are very much controllable, so as to specify the selenium content according to the needs of each fish, and also the developmental phase of production.
Therefore, selenium-enriched algae is not just a more efficient use of resources, rather improves the associated productivity and well-being of the farm animals.
Inasmuch as fish could digest several microalgae species, not all microalgae species could be enriched with the needed amount of selenium required for sustainable feeds.
Having said so, Aqua4Nations discovered that sodium selenite was the most and preferred form of Se for the marine microalgal strain, and the concentration in the biomass reached the legislative requirements of 0.5 mg Se per kilogram of sustainable aquafeed.
The biomass taken was then dried, and forwarded to the industrial partner SPAROS, which integrated the microalgae into aquafeed for continuous fish experiments in the project.
In summary, the results from this research of selenium production in the microalgae Nannochloropsis oceanica are presently being accumulated for publication, and perhaps should be ready within this year (in form of an open-access resource or article).
In time to come, further work will try to determine and explain in details the bioavailability of selenium in other ingredients like the selenium-enriched yeast, and macroalgae with fish feed experiments in sea bream.