We can help the aquaculture industry to transfer knowledge about raw materials and the nutritional needs of fish into the production of functional, cost-effective and sustainable fish feed of high technical quality. Photo: Bjørn Erik Larsen

Nutrition and feed technology

We are researching ingredients and feed for various species of farmed fish.

We offer

  • Knowledge about the nutrient need of the fish through its various life stages
  • Feed development adapted to modern farming conditions
  • Knowledge about resource utilization in the fish farming industry
  • Development and testing of new ingredients (plants, insects, bacteria, yeast, algae, residual feedstock, pelagic/mesopelagic fish, krill etc.)
  • Knowledge of extrusion technology and the properties of various ingredients
  • Developing feed for new species in farming
  • Testing of commercial feed
  • Competence and knowledge sharing with the industry

Some achievements

  • Utilization of resources at the lower levels of the food chain
    Research on biological resources that are not utilized for human food is constantly developing. By harvesting at lower trophic levels we can avoid the energy loss (up to 90 %) between the various stages of the food chain. In collaboration with industry stakeholders, our researchers have played an important part in developing protein and oil-rich ingredients from yeast, heterotrophic algae and krill, among other things.
  • Lack of fish oil: Omega-3 from new and sustainable sources
    We have gained unique insights into the fat metabolism of the fish by cultivating the fat cells and liver cells of salmon. These insights provide a basis for various strategies that can ensure the content of the healthy marine omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in fish. Examples of possible strategies include breeding, regulating the production conditions, balancing the feed ingredients and using alternative food sources.

Fish feed should satisfy every nutritional need of the fish. Developing feed is therefore a matter of looking at the dynamic nutritional needs of farmed fish, the production system the fish is part of and the sustainability of the ingredients. In addition, the feed pellets we develop have to have physical and functional qualities that satisfy the requirements of commercial fish farming.

The feed should primarily give good growth rates and optimum feed utilization. With our own production of experimental feed and several research facilities, including access to commercial sea-based farms, we can try out the new feed types in all the contexts relevant to fish farming.

Our researchers look at the development of fish feed in connection with technology and breeding as well as the health, quality and welfare of the fish.

The growth and developments in the industry creates a need for further knowledge about nutrition, feed and feed ingredients.

We are working to meet the needs of both the farmed fish, the aquaculture industry and the environment. For example, we research various strategies for ensuring that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in the salmon fillet comes from sustainable sources.

We also investigate how we can use residual biomass and sludge to capture and reuse important minerals with limited availability (following the principles of circular economy).

We cooperate closely with national and international stakeholders on developing the ingredients, fish feed, and feeding practices of the future. These stakeholders represent the ingredient manufacturing industry, feed producers, equipment suppliers and farming companies.

Feed technology infrastructure

In collaboration with the University of Bergen and NORCE, Nofima is in the process of establishing an innovation centre with infrastructure for research and development in the fields of bioprocessing, biorefinery and feed technology, named the Aquafeed Technology Centre (ATC).

The centre consists of four departments:

  • Bioprocessing – fermentation and cultivation of algae
  • Downstream processing – processing and recipes for ingredients
  • Extrusion and feed technology
  • Analytical methods and documentation of ingredients and end products


Read more about:

Creating Value

Some results from scientific projects in nutrition and feed technology

World-leading crab research


Nofima is the world-leading interdisciplinary research group for red king crab and snow crab.


Zinc and omega-3 enhance skin


The skin’s barrier function deteriorates when salmon are stressed. Zinc and omega-3 in feed can enhance barrier properties in salmon skin.


Fish bones give more red salmon


A mineral-rich ingredient that Nofima scientists have made from fish bones has had unexpected effects.


Dietary protein-to-lipid ratio


Scientist Jens-Erik Dessen has studied what farmed salmon should eat in order to optimize growth and health.


New oil source for salmon?


Preliminary trials and analyses of omega-3-rich oil from genetically modified rape seed indicate that it is safe to use in salmon feed.


Farmed salmon need marine omega-3


A doctoral project shows that more than 1% marine omega-3 fatty acids in feed are essential to preserve the good health of farmed salmon.


See more examples of Creating Value

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