Microencapsulated diets to improve bivalve shellfish aquaculture.

31 Jan 2018

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector and feeds over 3 billion people. Bivalve shellfish aquaculture makes up 25% of global aquaculture production and is worth annually US$19 billion, but continued growth is currently limited by suboptimal diets and limited tools for disease control. New advances in microencapsulation technology could provide an effective way to overcome these biological limitations. This study demonstrated that a new formulation of microencapsulated diet known as BioBullets could be ingested by a commercially farmed bivalve; the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Microparticles could be captured by mussels with similar efficiency to natural foods. Microparticles too large for ingestion were rejected in pseudofaeces. Microparticles were successfully ingested and broken down by the gut. Further work is needed to assess the impact of BioBullets diets on bivalve growth. There is now an exciting opportunity to tailor the composition of microencapsulated diets for specific applications to improve production output and efficiency in the commercial bivalve shellfish industry.