Principal Investigator
Helena Peres

Leader Institution

Research Teams


SPO3: Development of innovative sustainable protein and omega-3 rich feedstuffs for aquafeeds, from local agro-industrial by-products

The importance of seafood as source of healthy foods for humans is undeniable. Seafood is recognized as unique towards achieving healthy diets, due to its high quality protein, micronutrients and lipids, which are naturally rich in omega3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA).
The greater awareness of the role of seafood to human nutrition increases the responsibility of aquaculture to produce high quality seafood, tailored to meet human nutritional requirements. However, the commitment to reduce the proportion of traditional fishery-derived products (fish meal and oil) in aquafeeds has pressured the use of alternative feedstuffs, known to decrease some nutritional and quality traits of seafood. Therefore, it is urgent to develop new feedstuffs that reduce aquafeed industry reliance on fishmeal and fish oil while maintaining the human health benefits of seafood.
Solid-state fermentation (SSF) is a promising eco-friendly and low-cost biotechnological tool to add-value to agroindustrial byproducts, but its potential has been scarcely explored. Using SSF, low quality agro-industrial byproducts may be converted into nutritious feedstuffs for animal feeds, and deliver important molecules for human consumers, namely omega3HUFA and bioactive compounds such as enzymes and antioxidants.
Through a multidisciplinary approach, involving both fundamental and applied research, SPO3 project aims to use SSF to produce novel add-value and omega3-HUFA rich feedstuffs from local agro-industrial byproducts, evaluating its efficacy to replace dietary fish meal, fish oil and agriculture feedstuffs in aquafeeds and to increase the nutritional and quality traits of fish fillets.
SPO3 project will face one of the most important sustainable challenges of seafood production, replacing fish meal and oil, ensuring the production of healthy, safe and high nutritional quality fish for the consumer. SPO3 will cope with the North RIS3 priorities, namely: 1) Sustainable production and management of related services-waste recovery: by implementing innovative bio-processes for valorization locally available agro-industrial byproducts  to be used in aquafeeds, thus promoting the recycling and reutilization of nutrients; 2) Health and nutrition-functional food and nutraceutics: by providing healthy, safe and high nutritional quality seafood to the consumer, with added functional and antioxidant proprieties; 3) Consumer behavior - environmental and social responsibility: by bio-processing locally available agro-industrial byproducts , thus promoting the recycling and reutilization of nutrients; 4) Quality, safety and traceability of food: by improving fish flesh quality, and controlling the origin and safety of feedstuffs used in aquafeeds production. Particular emphasis will be given to the valorization of the project outcomes, through possible patenting results and transference to the industry and end-users.