Prairie AquaTech sees EU approval for aquafeed protein

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Hopfphotography
© GettyImages/Hopfphotography

Related tags: Aquaculture, plant-based protein, Non-GMO

Prairie AquaTech gets the greenlight to sell its plant based ingredient for fish feed in the EU market.

The South Dakota-based company announced that it received approval to sell its plant-based protein feed ingredient in the European market following an “independent review confirmed by competent authorities in the EU.”

The feed protein ingredient is reported to satisfy supporting documentation for Feed Safety Assurance (FSP) from GMP+ and FEFANA, the company said.

Previously, the feed protein had received a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) certification following an expert panel review allowing it to be used in feeds in the US, said Mark Luecke, CEO,  Prairie AquaTech. The US company was interested in the European market because of its anticipated growth.

“The EU aquaculture market is expected to grow to over $4.5bn dollars in the next five years,” ​Luecke told FeedNavigator. “That growth will provide even greater emphasis on feed ingredients that are well-sourced, high performing, and respect the environment.”

The non-genetically modified (non-GMO) feed ingredient contains about 70% “highly-digestible” ​plant-based protein, he said. The ingredient was specifically designed for use in aqua feeds.

The company’s plant-based protein, ME-PRO, was developed through a partnership between South Dakota State University and the investment company, South Dakota Innovation Partners. Prairie AquaTech is part of South Dakota Innovation Partner’s portfolio.

The protein ingredient is generated from soybeans using microbial enhancement and a patented process developed to increase protein levels, said the company.

Market interest and response

Interest in the alternative feed ingredient has been high, said Luecke.

“The aquaculture industry world-wide recognizes the need for high-value protein ingredients for aquafeed that are sustainable,” ​he said. “ME-PRO fits that requirement.”

The feed ingredient was designed to provide flexibility to a nutritionist “formulating species-specific and stage-specific diets,” ​said Luecke.

“We have practical use on commercial farms at inclusion rates as high as 36%,”​ he said. “ME-PRO also complements the nutritional profile of many other protein sources.”

The ingredient can be mixed with fishmeal to extend the use of that protein resource, he added.

In addition to providing a protein ingredient, ME-PRO has been linked to a reduction in phosphorous discharge in water-related to fish waste, said the company. 

The ingredient has already been shipped globally and used in diets for multiple aquaculture species including shrimp and with “hatchery-specific diets,”​ Luecke said.

“The vision for developing ME-PRO was built upon three fundamental values that apply to successful feed ingredients – responsible sourcing, high performance and positive impact on the environment,” ​he added. “It’s really great news that we are now able to bring ME-PRO to European fish and shrimp farmers and feed mills.”

Aquafeed award

Prior to the approval to sell into the European market, the ingredient earned recognition​during the 2019 VICTAM International Feed and Grain event in Cologne.

The protein was the winner of the Aquafeed Innovation Award for ingredients, following review by an international team of judges from Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the US, the company reported.

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