BioMar ready to launch first feed with a probiotic approved for use in fish farming

A long term Research & Development project, initiated through the OFIMER program and gathering fish feed producer BioMar, French research institutes IFREMER and INRA, and the industrial company Lallemand, has resulted in the first EU-approval of the use of probiotics for salmonids. This has allowed BioMar to develop an innovative dietary probiotic concept and will result in the introduction of the first trout and salmon feed containing probiotics.

CEO of the BioMar Group Torben Svejgard is extremely happy about this breakthrough: - The use of probiotics in feed for salmonids has shown to have significant impact on fish health and thereby the economic performance of fish farming. At the same time the use of probiotics has also important environmental benefits. By reducing the risk of diseases, the necessity of medication - and thereby the risk of residues left in the environment - is reduced. Therefore the introduction of probiotics in fish feed should also be seen as an important step in our continuous efforts to improve the sustainability of aquaculture.

Probiotics are defined as “live-microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. While they are common in land animal feed and becoming increasingly popular in consumer food products, they are new in fish farming.
However, Torben Svejgard underlines that including probiotics doesn’t work as a stand alone measure: - A number of other factors must also be controlled, he says and explains: - First of all the right feed formulation is extremely important in order to secure optimal healthy growth, but factors such as farm hygiene and general disease prevention are also still equally important in order to achieve the desired performance.

BioMar has together with the other project partners successfully concluded a series of trials both in laboratories and in the field, where the utilisation of probiotics showed a reduced amount of deformities. The trials also indicated a positive impact e.g. on reducing the risk of gastro enteritis – a disease with high mortality, which has had major outbreaks in several European countries in recent years. In order to achieve the best results the probiotic must be utilised from first feeding, and this is also the argumentation behind the first new products with probiotics.

- The probiotic will be included in new health concepts as well as in a new fry feed concept, which will be launched by the start of the new season, but we expect probiotics to be an important element in many new feed types over the coming years, concludes Torben Svejgard.

The EU-approval is based on an elaborate documentation of the benefits from utilising probiotics - especially reducing the risk of deformities (Vertebral Compression Syndrome) in salmonids. The Vertebral Compression Syndrome is an important problem which leads to reduced fish welfare, higher mortality, and not least important waste in fish processing and thereby economical losses.