A circular bioeconomy is based on high resource efficiency and recycling of nutrients. A large portion of bio-based organic residues are currently used for low value applications such as biogas or energy. Cultivation of species at the bottom of the food chain (low trophic species) is a highly relevant and innovative approach to increase the value of bio-based rest raw materials and to recycle nutrients from them.
The small crustaceans Gammaridaes are lower-trophic marine organisms with great potential for commercial production of marine biomass. They can be cultured on nutritionally poor diets to produce a highly nutritious biomass. The lipids, mainly composed of omega-3 rich phospholipids, are arguably the most interesting fraction, followed by proteins and carotenoids. Importantly, there exists strong evidence suggesting that Gammaridaes have the capability to biosynthesize omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) from precursors present in organic waste material and thus become net producers of these key nutrients. With optimized culture protocols, Gammaridaes can represent excellent sources of omega-3 LC-PUFA and marine proteins, compounds whose demand is currently not met by supply.
BIOCYCLES will develop handling and pre-treatment strategies for different bio-based rest raw materials from forestry, aquaculture, and agriculture to obtain suitable substrates for Gammaridaes. Cultivation conditions will be optimised, and sustainable processing technologies for Gammaridae products will be developed, to extract high-value marine ingredients. The possibilities and consequences of upscaling selected production processes will be evaluated under an environmental, social, and economic perspective.
BioCycles is a Researcher Project financed by Research Council of Norway (NFR 295063). The project is a cooperation between SINTEF Ocean, NIBIO, RISE PFI, and CSIC (Spain). In the reference group – different bio-based industries are represented – such as wood processing industry, aquaculture, and agriculture – in addition to the Food Authorities and Innovation Norway.