UC Santa Cruz‘s ecological aquaculture research team has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Department of Energy to collaborate with Global Algae Innovations on a groundbreaking fish feed from CO2 experiment.
The project aims to determine whether Spirulina microalgae, grown using carbon dioxide captured from power plant emissions, can serve as a sustainable and effective feed ingredient for rainbow trout in aquaculture farms. This innovative approach addresses two pressing issues: pollution caused by carbon emissions and the need for sustainable fish feed sources.
Global Algae Innovations intends to utilize carbon dioxide obtained from the emissions of power plants fueled by burning to cultivate and handle a particular type of microalgae known as Spirulina sp. This process aims to maximize energy and cost efficiency while reducing pollution.
The testing that will then be conducted on the product entails a comprehensive analysis of its biochemical characteristics. Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Pallab Sarker will specifically evaluate the nutritional content of Spirulina sp, its anti-nutrient levels, mineral composition, and the presence of trace or heavy metals in comparison to conventionally grown sources.
The testing will also involve adding the spirulina grown from flue gas to an experimental fish feed formula and feeding it to rainbow trout. The aim of the research is to determine how well the fish can digest this spirulina and whether they enjoy consuming it.
In order to achieve this, the testing will focus on measuring the amount of nutrients absorbed by the fish versus the amount excreted in their waste. These tests are crucial as they will provide insights into the effectiveness of using flue gas-grown Spirulina as a potential ingredient in fish feed.
This project is one of seven initiatives nationwide that received a total of $16.5 million in federal funding to advance technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using algae as a carbon sink.