OHT Goes to Renvyle House Hotel 130 Year Celebrations

OHT Goes to Renvyle House Hotel 130 Year Celebrations

It is always a pleasure to be invited to showcase your products and services to people who will be genuinely interested in your showing. Fortunately the guys at Renvyle House were kind enough to do is last weekend, on Saturday the 9th March. Let us tell you, the pleasure was all ours, what a place and what an experience

The day started around 8 o’clock in the morning when the packing begun with all the promotional material, flyers, backdrop and samples finding their way into the car. The bags were packed, the car was full of fuel and we were off. The hour and a half journey from Shrule, Co. Mayo, Ireland was going to be a long one, full of hills and windy roads but when you get to pass through beautiful areas such as Cong, Clonbur, Leenaan and Kylemore Abbey, who could complain.

Our view of Kylemore Abbey.

Our view of Kylemore Abbey.

The sun was shining as we drove, the music was blaring and the views were spectacular. It was only 11.30 and the day was off to a great start. When we arrived at Renvyle (our first time here) we were mesmerised by the beauty of the place, located right on the shore, with the beach literally 20 metres away, we did not need any more positives. Alas, I had to do some work.

Our Stand at The Indoor Market

Our Stand at The Indoor Market

In the hotel I met Zoe who showed me where I would be setting up for the Indoor Market and went through the details of the event with me. I got my stand set up, had a fantastic interview on the shore with Valerie Cox from RTE Radio 1 and went to relax in my room (which was complimentary by the way) for 15 minutes before the show got on the road. The Indoor Market was great, I was privileged enough to meet many fantastic people from a wide variety of places. Lucinda O’Sullivan and Rosita Boland would be two more familiar names but some great people at the market included The Connemara Smokehouse and the Nuns from Kylemore Abbey who had loads on offer. After the market I quickly packed away and went to my room to relax and watch the second half of the Ireland v France rugby match.

Then it was time to get ready for my Prosecco Reception before I got to enjoy a Gourmet Dinner of Seven Courses accompanied by specifically chosen wine for each course. You will find a few images below of some of the courses from the meal. I unfortunately got so absorbed in enjoying the marvellous food on offer, taking pictures kept slipping my mind.

Two Glasses of Prosecco

Two Glasses of Prosecco

The Dinner Menu

The Dinner Menu

Lobster and Mango Salad

Lobster and Mango Salad

Soup

Soup

Sorbet to clear the Palette

Sorbet to clear the Palette

Lamb main course

Lamb main course

Gorgeous refreshing dessert

Gorgeous refreshing dessert

The Gourmet Evening began at 7 o’clock and around 11.30 pm I finally put down the last bite of a gorgeous meal. A meal which was not only great for the food by Chef Tim O’ Sullivan and his team, but also for the service of the front of house staff and especially for the wonderful people I was able to sit down and enjoy my meal with, and people who I hope I will meet again in the future.

I would just like to finish by showing you the view from my room in the hotel which was spectacular and by thanking all of those in Renvyle for making my stay so relaxing and enjoyable. Finally I would also like to thank them for extending the invite of staying and enjoying their hospitality to my better have. I have gathered some great brownie points with her for this one.

The view from the bedroom

The view from the bedroom

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Seaweed Protein: Properties and Possibilities in Aquaculture

Seaweed Protein: Properties and Possibilities in Aquaculture

Seaweed is a natural and sustainable ingredient with a lot of different functional biological properties, amongst them protein. Protein are biochemical compounds comprising one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form that facilitate biological functions in the body.

Although the structure and biological properties of seaweed proteins are still poorly documented, the amino acid compositions of several species have been known for a long time. Habitat – and especially seasonal variation – has an effect on proteins, peptides and amino acids in seaweed. The protein fraction of seaweed varies with the species but is generally low in brown seaweed, <15%. Higher protein contents are recorded for green and red seaweed, up to 40%. These levels are comparable to those found in highprotein vegetables such as soybeans.

Essential Amino Acids

Most seaweed species contain all the essential amino acids and are a rich source of the acidic amino acids, aspartic acid and glutamic acid and in general are higher than those found in terrestrial plants.

One bioactive protein present in algae are lectins, which are a structurally diverse group of carbohydrate binding proteins. Marine algal lectins exhibit antibiotic, mitogenic, cytotoxic, anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory, antiadhesion and anti-HIV bioactive properties and are currently commercially produced for a variety of purposes.

Peptides are 2-20 amino acid long chains which once a protein is broken down are released and become bioactive and fulfil certain functions in the body. The depsi-peptide kahalalide-F from Bryopsis sp. – a green alga is active in the treatment of lung cancer, tumours and AIDS. Many other bioactive functions have been ascribed to algal peptides. When protein and peptides are broken down to their individual building blocks we have amino acids. The eight essential amino acids (cystine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and valine) cannot be synthesised by animals, nor can they be replaced by other ‘less valuable building blocks.

All essential amino acids are present in brown and red seaweed species; red species feature uniquely high concentrations of taurine – an ingredient found in a well-known energy drink.

Extracting Protein

Ocean Harvest Technology in association with several universities has already embarked on optimising extracting total protein – finding and isolating bioactive peptides for applications in aquaculture and animal feed.

Harvesting Seaweed to extract protein

Harvesting Seaweed to extract protein

Why is this important?

Because a global protein crisis is looming. Currently, about 5 million tonnes of fishmeal is produced and used as feed ingredient in livestock and aquaculture. Virtually all fishmeal is used as a high protein ingredient in feed for farmed land animals and farmed fish. The typical inclusion rate for fishmeal in farm animal diets is 1-5% of dry matter, mainly in specialist diets – e.g. for weaner pigs. A typical farmed salmon diet contains 20-30% fishmeal.

Fishmeal Components

In the ten years to 2002, aquaculture expanded worldwide by more than 9% per annum and since then at a slightly slower rate. While the use of fishmeal will consequently increase – improved efficiency and some substitution means this is likely to be at a slower rate.

Making Pellets from Seaweed Protein

Making Pellets from Seaweed Protein

Nevertheless, fish stocks used for fishmeal are diminishing and prices are rising. A lot of work has taken place on plant protein as replacement; however, often these plant proteins like soya are less suitable for use in aquaculture due to anti-nutritional factors or lower performance. The large fish-feed manufacturers currently purchase more than €1bn in fish protein and oil per year, sourced primarily from South America by harvesting wild fish from around the world.

Two of the biggest financial and environmental costs for these companies and all fish-feed processors are increasing shortage and the spiralling cost of fish protein. It takes 3-4 kg of wild fish (herring, capelin for example) to create 1kg of fish meal. This is a completely unsustainable scenario that has a major negative impact on the ocean environment.

Seaweed Purity

Seaweed protein extracted for example by Ocean Harvest Technology has a high purity, comprising over 80% protein in contrast to fishmeal at about 65%. It is also extremely popular amongst aquaculture feed manufacturers because of its excellent amino acid profile.

When large-scale production of seaweeds starts in earnest (e.g. in Ireland), it most definitely could help alleviate the problem currently experienced with fish meal and plant protein  replacements. Moreover, seaweed protein is derived from a sustainable marine resource and does not have the stigma of being a food crop.

These attributes make seaweed protein an excellent source for use in aquaculture feeds and show great potential for it in the future.

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Seaweeds: the answer for the future of global aquaculture feed?

Seaweeds: the answer for the future of global aquaculture feed?

The ever-growing global aquaculture industry currently produces about 50% of all seafood consumed of which 6% represents marine fish farming. Coupled to a steadily rising world population just reaching over 7 billion this year going to 9 billion in 2050 we are heading for some huge problems in respect of feed production in order to sustain and indeed increase aquaculture production. Image of Seaweed on a White backgroundFish meal, a commodity becoming more and more in short supply is becoming rather expensive as a protein source to feed farmed fish and an urgent need for alternative resources other than plant protein sources derived from food crops is needed. Seaweeds with protein values ranging from 10% for certain brown and green algae up to 40% in certain types of red algae might very well be a part of the answer.

With rapidly increasing interest for micro and macroalgae (seaweeds) as a novel feedstock for biofuels and novel platform chemicals for other industries such as the plastic Industry there might be a by-product that is of great interest for the fed aquaculture industry, i.e., protein. This by-product alone would justify the development of a vibrant algae cultivation industry. Besides, algae can contribute other interesting bioactive molecules to the table that could be applied in fed aquaculture to replace certain chemical ingredients such as colorants, preservatives and pre-mixes. One Irish company, Ocean Harvest Technology, based in Milltown has already advanced this concept and trialled different seaweed formula’s on salmon with considerable success resulting in lower FCR’s, higher weight gain and a strong reduction in sea lice.  The final end product (fresh and smoked salmon) has been exhaustively taste -tested by independent panels, retailers, consumers and Michelin Chefs and  received high acceptance for taste and texture, while reducing the environmental impact and increasing the sustainability of the fish. These seaweed fed salmon are currently produced in Canada. With these results in hand the Ocean Harvest Technology team recently finished shrimp trials with similar results and success and also have begun pig trials with an Irish pig research farm. In comparison the salmon feed industry globally produced close in the region of 2.8 million tonnes of feed, the global pig feed industry produces around 128 million tonnes of feed.

However, the focus has shifted and is more and more fixed on alternative protein resources. The Irish company Oceanfuel Ltd has developed a protein extraction process in order to concentrate the carbohydrates. The process is scalable and protein forms basically a by-product in order to produce a carbohydrate slurry for the biofuels industry. Analysis of the amino acid profiles of the protein fraction shows very comparable or better profiles compared to fish meal, with the advantage that seaweed protein is about 90% of the extracted product while fishmeal contains about 60-70% protein. By using seaweeds and seaweed proteins it will help reduce the pressure and reliance on wild fish stock and some other traditional ingredients and will soon play an important role in the feed and food production.

In contrast to microalgae seaweed have been cultivated in large quantities for hundreds of years, mainly in Asia and other tropical areas. This has been done largely for food production although over the last 60 years also to develop the phycolloid industry to produce alginates, carrageenans and agars which are widely used in the food industries as thickeners, binders and stabilizers. According to the latest figures of the FAO about 15.5 million tonnes of seaweeds were cultivated globally (worth about $US 6.5 billion) of which 98% takes place in Asia. Around 10% of the total cultivation is used for the phycolloid industry. Therefore the concept of cultivating seaweeds is not new, but to apply the concept to the western world will be difficult as there is little knowledge and understanding of seaweeds. In contrast, in Japan it is part of the staple diet, with an average of 7-10 grams consumed per day.

Nevertheless with the increasing interest in biofuels and statements by Governments to reduce CO2 levels to 1990 levels while promising that 20% of all EU transport fuels have to come from sustainable biofuels by 2020 will further increase the interest of growing seaweeds for a wide variety of purposes. As labour is horrendously expensive in this part of the world it means that the whole process from seed to harvesting has to be mechanised as much as possible. This will be the ultimate challenge for the next 10 years if we want to make seaweeds an accepted mainstream product being it for fuel, food or other ingredients.

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Salmon Feed Breakthrough for Ocean Harvest Technology

Salmon Feed Breakthrough for Ocean Harvest Technology

Ocean Harvest Technology, based in Galway on the Atlantic coast of Ireland is about to start commercial production of a new salmon feed ingredient that could revolutionise the €6 Billion global salmon farming industry.

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The industry has been beset by concerns over environmental impact, animal welfare and food safety concerns but all of those issues will be addressed by OceanFeed™, a wholly sustainable, seaweed-based salmon feed ingredient that not only replaces all synthetic chemical additives and colorants currently used in salmon fish feed – but also has been shown to significantly improve the health environment in which the fish are reared.

OceanFeed™ is a macro algae-based ingredient which is 100 per cent natural and wholly sustainable within the ocean environment.

Recently completed European sea trials with EWOS in Scotland have shown that the thousands of fish used in the trial have been healthier and displayed better weight gain, taste and appearance results when compared to fish fed on the current market leading feed.

Astaxanthin levels in fish fed on the OceanFeed diet were only 20 per cent of those in the control diet fed fish while OceanFeed™contained higher levels of natural pigments, notably Lutein, and of Omega 3 PUFA’s.

The feed ingredients are designed to reduce stress, enhance the immune system and minimize autoimmune problems, At the same time, the fish eating OceanFeed™ have significantly improved flesh quality and flavour — the ‘taste of the sea’ compared to a control test group.

The feed reduces many of the environmental issues associated with current aquaculture practices. Many of these have related to the use of synthetic, petroleum-based additives that represent about 20 per cent of the cost and 15 per cent of the weight of farmed salmon fish feed.

The market for additives used in the manufacture of salmon feed was worth more than US$615 million in 2007.

OceanFeed™ is the first commercial product to emerge from several years’ worth of research and development into the application of macro-algae and seaweed based products conducted by the team at Ocean Harvest Technology.

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