Microalgae farming for the production of Omega-3 oil & high protein feed


Omega-3 oil is predominantly sourced from krill & fish. Wild harvesting comes at a cost to marine life, and is unsustainable. Farmed fish require supplements because they’re missing out on nutrients enjoyed in the wild.

Algae is the original source of Omega-3 (where krill & fish get theirs). However most cultivated species of algae only produce oil rich in DHA: one of the two essential Omega-3 acids. Nannochloropsis provides the other essential acid: EPA.

Open pond farming is the most economical way to cultivate algae. But only certain species of algae can be grown this way, and require favourable climatic conditions. Nannochloropsis thrives in open ponds and the climate of Queensland provides ideal growing conditions.

Nannochloropsis provides additional benefits; the by-product of EPA oil extraction is a high protein feed that can be used in human or animal nutrition. And for every 1kg of algae grown, ~2kg of carbon dioxide is consumed.

Several Australia entities have progressed the cultivation technology and algae nutrient qualities. Notably Professor Peer Schenk and his team from University of Queensland, in partnership with businesses including Qponics and the Woods Group.

SEAO2 are investigating the opportunity to rapidly bring more commercial scale pond farms to market and further expand the range of products and applications.

Image credit: Qualitas