Why this Brief?


The world population growth - World Statistics, and increasing average standard of living, implies an increasing demand on feeds - total world feed output is approximately 614 million tonnes - IFIF Statistics. Animal feed consumption already exceeds direct human food consumption by almost four, and this ratio can only rise as the demand more animal protein increases. The ability to produce increasing amounts of feeds is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind, perhaps even greater than the environmental, energy, global warming and resource crisis. An increase in world population plays an important role on increasing feed demand. For instance, there are currently 6.5 billion people in the world. It is estimated that by 2030 there will be 2 billion more mouths to feed. This world population growth is driving meat consumption, and more meat means more grain … feed demand and animal feed supplements are rising!

Microalgae can play an important role in the future. They are one of the potential sources of foods and feeds provided by Nature with the potential to feed an ever growing and affluent population. Microalgae are the photosynthetic organisms in the first levels of the aquatic food-chains, on which an ever growing part of our food will have to come from. Our challenge is to domesticate these plants, as we have done with higher plants, to allow us to manage their large scale production for a wide range of applications, including feeds.


This Brief aims to (1) bring together the most relevant information available on microalgae feed production – and (2) promote the knowledge management to help accelerate the development of algae feeds. We hope that is Brief will contribute for the emergence and expansion of projects and ventures in this sector.

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Animal nutrient requirements

FEED Posted on: 2010-04-20 | Viewed 379262 time(s) | Commented 0 time(s)

Feeds are blended from various raw materials and additives. These blends are formulated according to the specific requirements of the target animal, which need a variety of nutrients to meet their basic needs. They include carbohydrates, fats, fiber, proteins, minerals, vitamins and water. Regarding microalgae incorporation as feed supplements, prior to commercialization, algal material must be analyzed for the presence of toxic compounds to prove their harmlessness. The next step is to get approval for their incorporation as dietary supplements or additives. In order to achieve that approval, microalgae should satisfy the Safety and International Standards regulating feed production. The most relevant entity establishing feed safety international standards is IFIF - International Feed Industry Federation.

Microalgae nutritional composition

FEED Posted on: 2010-05-07 | Viewed 47909 time(s) | Commented 0 time(s)

The use of microalgae for animal feed started in the early 70s. Microalgal properties give them the ability to enhance feed nutritional content, improving their effect in animal health. As for higher plants, the nutritional composition of microalgae is made up mainly of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and trace nutrients, including vitamins, antioxidants, and trace elements. The reported nutritional composition of microalgae fits within the following ranges: 39-54% of proteins for marine microalgae and 10-71 % for freshwater microalgae, 8-64 % of carbohydrates and 2-22 % of lipids. All species have similar amino acids composition and are rich in the essential amino acids.

Microalgae in feeds

FEED Posted on: 2010-05-01 | Viewed 44664 time(s) | Commented 0 time(s)

Since microalgae were initially utilized as supplements for animal nutrition, several studies have been performed on fish, farm animals and pets in order to evaluate microalgae potential as animal feed supplements, and their effects on the animal health, growth and nutritional properties. Although microalgae are able to enhance the nutritional content of conventional food preparations and hence, to positively affect the health of humans and animals, some constituents of microalgal biomass may represent constrains on its incorporation on feeds, like nucleic acids, toxins and heavy-metal components.

Why microalgae for feeds

FEED Posted on: 2010-05-08 | Viewed 14467 time(s) | Commented 0 time(s)

The survival, growth, development, productivity and fertility of animals are a reflection of their health. Feed quality is the most important exogenous factor influencing animal health. Health and Food Safety concerns are putting pressure on better quality feed ingredients, which opens space in this market for microalgae biomass as nutritional supplement, as they posses many unique and interesting biochemical properties when compared to higher plants. Most of the raw materials currently used for animal feed products are higher plants as corn, soybeans, sorghum, oats, and barley. Beside the nutritional improvement that microalgae incorporation in feeds versus higher plants may bring to animals health, they are the only biomass material that allows production with daily harvest all year round. This could bring to the feed market more security of supply on raw materials.

Feed market statistical information

FEED Posted on: 2010-04-10 | Viewed 9829 time(s) | Commented 0 time(s)

According to the WHO Food and Agriculture Organization, developing countries are on the verge of moving toward more meat and livestock production and consumption. There are several factors that will drive the global animal feed industry including population growth and incomes measured by growth in GDP, feed grain prices, health and food safety issues, and environmental issues. The future remains bright for the expansion of industrial feed as meat consumption in the developed world is expected to continue to increase in developing countries, with poultry meat leading this growth.