Research & Development
Continuous development of existing and new feed types and the evaluation of raw materials for fish nutrition is the responsibility of our Research & Development Department. By a dedicated team, feeds for different species and raw materials are tested under laboratory and field conditions.
The testing of feed and raw materials is performed at our own trial station in Germany, Aller Aqua Research.
Developing fish feeds with high performance
Commercial fish feeds from Aller Aqua are the result of comprehensive testing and evaluation. Their development follows standardized procedures and takes advantage of state-of-the-art research facilities, technology and equipment with our customer’s success in focus.
This goes hand in hand with the constant drive for innovation in partnership with trial partners and research institutions to keep our customers at the forefront of aquaculture development.
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Field Trial Evaluation
Upon successful evaluation in the laboratory and trial facilities at Aller Aqua Research, experimental or novel fish feeds are further evaluated on fish farms under “real life conditions”. In laboratory trials, specific environments can be set and maintained which is not necessarily the case on fish farms. Even if they are perfectly managed, fluctuating environmental conditions are a reality, which puts fish feeds to the test. Feed experiments from the laboratory are therefore repeated on fish farms and benchmarked against competitors’ products before new products are launched in the market. In addition, specific fish farming related trials are directly conducted on fish farms, when effects on the fish can only be monitored in big scale, like using new feeding automats, cameras or sorting machines.
Evaluation of trial results
Facility-based laboratories and research partners support Aller Aqua R&D to investigate a broad range of performance-based indicators. These range from physical characteristics of pellets, to feed palatability, digestibility, performance, pigmentation and health studies. The latter corresponds to microbiome engineering and stress modulation of fish under challenging environmental conditions. Application of the right feed can mitigate the effect of husbandry, stress and disease outbreaks. Performance and health of fish are finally evaluated at the product level considering slaughter and fillet yield, fillet texture and fatty acid levels as well as sensory characteristics.
Trial facilities at Aller Aqua Research
Aller Aqua Research houses several recirculating aquaculture systems. Full control of selectable, environmental conditions allows for trials in both fresh- and saltwater with cold- and warm-water species, from hatch to market size of fish. The flexible set-up enables us to conduct comprehensive ingredient analysis and develop feeds while evaluating product sustainability and economy. The interactive testing process with commercial farms ensures supply of high-quality fish feeds to Aller Aqua’s customers.
Test feed evaluation
The feeding trials to assess raw material quality, to test new recipes and to develop feed concepts, are conducted under selectable environmental conditions. From hatch to harvest, fish can be fed with test feeds, enabling us to monitor effects throughout the whole life cycle. The trial protocols applied allow comparisons of trial results between seasons, so that data obtained can be combined and built upon.
Aller Aqua Research has established a comprehensive data catalogue of raw material performance and composition for various fish species and different life stages.
Raw material portfolio
Fish feed contains various raw materials with characteristics and of diverse origin. The high demands towards raw material quality require a thorough understanding of the functionality of each raw material in fish feed – down to fish species level. Raw materials are tested in feeding trials for nutrient digestibility as well as effects on fish growth and health. However, raw material availability and price are also taken into consideration when testing fish feeds, since fish feed needs to deliver top growth performance at a competitive price.
At Aller Aqua Research, we are constantly screening and testing new raw materials in our fish feeds, ultimately adding them to our raw material portfolio.