Agri-tech company, Devenish and Canadian biotech company, Mara Renewables Corporation (Mara) have secured funding to develop algae-derived poultry feed that "will improve human and environmental health".

The joint bid secured £384,216 from Innovate U for Devenish, while $376,247.00 (CAD) has been allocated to Mara from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program.

Commenting on the significance of the funding, Richard Kennedy, chief executive, Devenish said:

The typical human diet lacks health-promoting fats such as Omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

"The main source of these nutrients is oily fish, yet the recommended one serving per week is consumed by very few across the globe."

According to the Devenish CEO, there is a public- health need to make the consumption of Omega-3 DHA more accessible through more popular, globally consumed foods, such as poultry meat.

This funding will allow Devenish and Mara to focus on developing the next generation of OmegaPro, our naturally enriched Omega-3 DHA rich poultry feed, formulated using a sustainable algae-based source."

Matthew Sharman, group science and technical manager at Devenish explained that, with sustainability in mind and dense in nutrients, this chicken will provide an important source of omega-3 DHA oils in the human diet, while enhancing the overall efficiency of poultry production.

The processes involved will reduce the carbon footprint of omega-3 DHA production and develop a novel sustainable protein source, making progress towards the goal of achieving net zero agriculture emissions."

Devenish and Mara hope their partnership in this area will inspire similar work within other species sectors such as aquaculture and pigs.

Roberto Armenta, chief scientist at Mara

Roberto Armenta, chief scientist and director of research and development at Mara said:

Mara believes that algae-derived nutritional products can supplement and enhance conventional methods of agriculture to deliver health benefits on a global scale.

"For several years, we have successfully commercialised natural, algal omega-3 products; however, to-date, the algal protein component from our process has remained underused.

Results from this project will not only supply further nutritional benefits to the food chain, but conserve the resources required for our bioprocess, and reduce CO2 emissions."

Devenish and Mara have recently formalised their partnership through the launch of Humanativ, a new joint venture company which will enable them to bring their innovations to the global animal nutrition market.