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Nordic Alternative Protein Potentials

Mapping of regional bioeconomy opportunities

image of Nordic Alternative Protein Potentials

Within agri- and aquaculture, a specific bioeconomy challenge – and a bioeconomy opportunity – has been identified concerning sustainable protein supply for livestock production and fish farming. Today, imported soy products are by far the most important protein source however several alternative ways of producing protein rich feed has been identified using regional resources. Production of legumes, pulses and grass can be expanded. Alternative protein rich sources include single cell protein (bacteria/fungi), macroalgae (seaweed), mussels and insects. Local protein production has a number of benefits in the form of generation of local jobs, reduction in the import of nutrients and in general boosting the bioeconomy. Many of the alternative ways of producing protein rich feed are still under development, this report therefor also includes recommendations concerning how to proceed.

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Feed Protein Needs and Nutritive Value of Alternative Feed Ingredients

Animal food production in the Nordic countries and in EU as a whole is largely based on imported feed proteins, mainly soybeans. This is not sustainable and calls for alternative feed protein sources that can be produced nationally or regionally. There are several possible alternative feed ingredients that may have the potential to partially or fully replace soybean and fishmeal protein in the diet of livestock and cultured aquatic organisms. The most promising candidates have been identified amongst insects, fungi, bacteria and micro-algae. In addition, there are cultivated plants, which have potential to replace soybean and fish protein in the diet of livestock. The most promising candidates can be found amongst grasses, legumes and grain- and oil seed co-products. However, there is still a lack of data on nutritional properties and animal response on many of the potential candidates. In order to make it possible to perform credible feed formulations and to model possible future use in diets for livestock and fish, data on both the chemical composition and the nutrient availability will be needed. Moreover, in addition to nutrients, alternative feed ingredients may also provide pro-health effects through prebiotic properties, and may contribute to reduce the use of antibiotics in the livestock and aquaculture industry.

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