Calysta announced the trials and a partnership with the Norwegian aquaculture research institute, Nofima, last week.
The US company's protein feed ingredient, FeedKind, is generated using microbes processed through gas fermentation. In addition to its potential for use in aquaculture feeds, the protein ingredient can be used in livestock and pet food diets.
The upcoming research trials are expected to provide more information on its use as a functional ingredient for Atlantic salmon production, said Allan LeBlanc, senior director and FeedKind project manager.
“In addition to its nutritional value, we continue to see evidence FeedKind helps maintains a healthy gut and keeps fish robust in the face of natural stresses encountered in a commercial setting,” he told FeedNavigator.
“In order to validate these functional feed benefits, we need a longer-term trial open to the ocean environment. Nofima's industry-leading expertise and facilities allow us to do that.
"The aquaculture industry is actively seeking new solutions to reduce costs associated with biological challenges and environmental impact."
The trials will be designed by Nofima and while the exact start date of the project has yet to be released, it is anticipated to begin in 2019, said Calysta.
The research institute is interested in working with Calysta to research the use of the alternative protein because of the potential it presents as a new protein source that could be used to improve the sustainability of aquaculture, said Mari Moren, director of research at Nofima.
“Feedkind’s effect on salmon will be thoroughly tested at Nofima’s research facilities along with the effects this protein may have on the physicochemical qualities of the feed pellet,” she added.
The California-based feed ingredient company has already run several trials using the FeedKind protein, said LeBlanc. However, those have tended to be smaller, controlled studies.
“Additionally, feed companies have independently validated our results showing FeedKind is an excellent alternative protein in the most demanding applications,” he said.
The protein ingredient has been approved for use in the EU and several countries in Asia, Calysta said. It has been found to use less water and land than other alternative ingredients used in aquafeeds, said its developer.
Calysta announced results from a research project in March looking at the use of the protein ingredient in the diets of Pacific whiteleg shrimp in place of fishmeal. Shrimp survival was found to improve when they were given diets with the alternative protein ingredient, the company said. Shrimp getting a diet that combined both the novel protein and fishmeal also reporting an increase in weight gain, it added.
A research study published in 2006 looked at the use of the alternative protein in the diets of Atlantic salmon, Calysta reported. At that time, the protein ingredient was found to reduce the loss of nitrogen and energy, while improving feed efficiency.