Promotion of circular economy pathways by valorization of marine by-products

Production of omega-3 enriched insect as alternative to fishmeal and fish oil in formulated foods for aquaculture

The continuous growth trend of global aquaculture has consequently led to an increase in the demand for fishmeal (FM) and fish oil (FO), two indispensable ingredients in artificial foods for marine fish, indispensable to satisfy its nutritional requirements.

This situation has determined a concern for the sustainability of marine sources of these ingredents and has stimulated the research in find additional or alternative sources, for the sustainable growth of aquaculture.

In recent years, insects, such as the black soldier fly BSF (Hermetia illucens) has received growing attention as a sustainable, alternative source of proteins and lipids for commercial aqua feed formulations However, the low levels of omega-3 series polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as the two PUFAs essentials for fish, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in the lipids of BSF is one of the limiting factors for its utilization in diets for farmed fish.

UNIPA has investigated the effects of different fishery and aquaculture by-product based diets on the growth, body composition, and fatty acid profile of BSF with the aim of converting this biomass into high-value ingredients, as part of a “zero-waste” approach. Feeding BSF larvae with by products from processed anchovies, tuna, shrimps, farmed fish and trawling fishery, modulated the lipid and fatty acid profile of BSF larvae, increasing their level of omega-3 fatty acids thus making them suitable as ingredients for aquaculture feed, in partial replacement of fishmeal and fish oil.

This solution has stimulated circular economy pathways, and meets the green deal and 2030 agenda principles, especially for the SDG12 and SDG14. Full article, available at :

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Concetta Messina