Evonik: Veramaris algal oil does not contain or consist of GMOs

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
Evonik says the algal oil produced through its joint venture with DSM – Veramaris - is a non-GMO product, and was recently recognized by a non-GMO standard in Germany.

The oil is also being produced at a facility in Nebraska​ in the US and at a plant in Slovakia. Commercial quantities will be available in second half of this year.

However, Norwegian salmon farmer, Lingalaks, a farming company rearing Atlantic salmon, has been covering 50% of its salmon production since last October with a feed formulation produced by Nutreco’s fish feed manufacturing arm, Skretting, that includes the Veramaris algal oil.  

Dr Jürgen Krauter, vice president, communications, nutrition and care division, at Evonik, told this publication:

“Veramaris manufactures algal oil containing EPA+DHA from the marine algae, Schizochytrium sp., which is not a genetically modified organism (GMO).

It is important to note that Veramaris does not receive any GMOs and no GMOs are used in Veramaris operations. We use sugar that does not contain any GMOs. Additionally, our commercial production is a zero-waste facility."

The Veramaris process starts with sugar.

“Sugar as a substrate is sourced from the global sugar markets, from wheat, conventional and non-conventional corn [thus both GM and non-GM corn] and sugar beet, and processed to ensure there are no genetically modified organisms," ​said Krauter.

The Veramaris algal oil does not contain or consist of genetically modified organisms, and is, therefore, not to be labelled as GMO, he added.

“It is a non-GMO product, and it does not contain ethoxyquin either. The Veramaris algal oil does not fall under the scope of regulation EC/1829/2003 and complies with all applicable European regulations concerning traceability and labelling of food and feed products.

“The Veramaris algal oil satisfies both current and future ASC standards and received a qualified opinion from the German industry organization “Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik” (VLOG) confirming the non-GMO status of the Veramaris algal oil.”

GM criteria under ASC feed standard

Michiel Fransen, head of standards and science at the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), referencing the GM criteria under the new feed standard​, [currently awaiting final publication approval], told FeedNavigator:

“ASC does not claim to be a GM-free standard, but it requires transparency in all aspects, including the use of GM-products in feed mills. The latest draft of the ASC Feed Standard requires that mills communicate the presence of GM-product, or product derived from GM-organisms to the buyer of the product. However, the input used by the organism producing the feed ingredient would not need to be communicated.”

Call for transparency in supply chain 

Danish fish feed company, BioMar, said it is neither for nor against GMOs, but that it is “definitely all about openness”. 

It said it supports and encourages the use of novel ingredients like microalgae; microalgae is a great raw material in terms of sustainability and it can help reduce the dependency on marine resources, added the fish feed manufacturer.

"We also believe strongly in full transparency which is why we have created and implemented our value chain source to market assessment tool. If GMO feedstock is being given to the microalgae then we will be open with our customers about it.

"This way they have all the facts to make an informed decision about the selection of raw materials in their feed so they can address the needs of their own market and customers,”​ said Vidar Gundersen, global sustainability director, BioMar Group.

BioMar has a distribution agreement with Corbion in relation to that company’s fish oil substitute, the microalgae derived biomass product, AlgaPrime DHA, which is produced at Corbion’s SB Renewable Oils facility located in São Paolo, Brazil. That Brazilian facility is co-located with a sugar mill that processes sugarcane from adjacent fields. Corbion says the ingredient is produced with low carbon, water and land use impacts. 

BioMar has taken the lead in developing and testing feed with that microalgae derived ingredient.

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