Scientists make fish food from beer

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Scientists have described how they have produced a new form of fish food additive from wastes left over from the production of beer.

Drs Andy Logan and Seth Terry, who work at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, told 9 News that the additive could potentially help reduce pressures on fish stocks, which are often targeted to produce fish meal used to make foods to feed farmed (and aquarium) fish.

"Fish eat other fish. The fish meal industry sends ships out to catch non-food grade fish species and those are ground up into fish meal," Logan told 9 News.

"But this source of fish meal is more and more limited. The production is maxed out."

Their answer, is Oberon FMR (fish meal replacement), which they claim provides a high protein alternative to fish meal using sludge that's left over as a byproduct from the brewing industry.

"Large brewers spend $200 a ton to dispose of this material", Logan told 9 News. "We can get that material for free, and using a new bacterial process, we can process 18,000 tons a year of fish food. Nothing like this has ever been done before."

However, the idea of using brewery waste to feed fish is not actually new. In 2004, scientists from Punjab Agricultural University in India using brewery waste to replace rice bran in a fish diet for the production of the freshwater cyprinids Catla catla, Labeo rohita and Cirrhina mrigala. Catla catla and Labeo rohita grew to their maximum size using the diet, but C. mrigala showed poorer growth.