The FIC project of Innocon, a private technology center, seeks to reduce the impact generated on the seabed by fish farming centers, with a sustainable national product.

Innocon is a private Technology Center, accredited by Corfo to carry out research. It is made up of more than 50 professionals from various areas, such as biochemists, food engineers, biotechnologists, engineers from other specialties, among others, dedicated to carrying out studies and developing projects. The Technology Center provides services for other companies that need to optimize products or develop new products.

“For this, we have specialized laboratories. In fact, our laboratory is ranked as one of the best laboratories in the world for determining Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acid profiles. This is why our fatty acid analyzes are highly recognized in the food industry,” he tells Salmonexpert, Carlos Sepúlveda, general manager of Innocon.

The professional highlights that in parallel they have a pilot plant, where many foods and products are piloted. “When addressing a client’s requirement, our research team carries out literature review and tests in the laboratory by developing experiments. Once the laboratory recipe is finalized, our piloting area oversees verifying that this product works. Once this is concluded, we present the client with their requirement, the commercial samples, and the recipe, so that it can be produced on a larger scale,” emphasizes Sepúlveda.

According to the general manager of Innocon, for many years they have carried out projects for the aquaculture industry, particularly for salmon farming. “Over time, we identified that there was a need, particularly in salmon feed. Currently, feed pellets, apart from the internal nutritional components they contain, have a covering fat that prevents them from disintegrating in the water and does not exude, but which is not digestible by the fish. Therefore, this fat is deposited on the seabed.”

For the professional, from a nutritional point of view it is not optimal that a product containing food is not used and that it contaminates the seabed, where it has no use either.

“Currently in Chile, about 25 thousand tons of this type of coverage are consumed, which end up intact on the seabed. That is why, thanks to our research and development, we can generate a coverage that fulfills the same function that it currently fulfills, but that is nutritionally used by the fish,” says Sepúlveda.

FIC project

Based on this solution, the project “Sustainable fat for aquaculture feed” was born, an initiative financed by the Regional Government of Biobío through the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness (FIC-R) and executed by the Innocon Technology Center.

“For us, this project is very important since, on the one hand, we are reducing the impact generated on the seabed by salmon farming centers, and on the other, we are developing a new product that can generate new production lines, and we are giving added value to raw materials that already exist,” emphasizes Sepúlveda.

According to what was stated by the CEO of Innocon, a lot of technology must be applied for this project, since a series of temperature and viscosity balances must be achieved, the fish must digest it, and several tests must be carried out. “We will develop the interesterification of fats. With different raw materials, we carry out this process, from which we obtain the required parameters, how it should be done, and which raw materials are the best. Finally, a fat is achieved that remains dense and stable at the temperature of the water, but at the temperature of the digestive system it can be absorbed.”

The project began in January of this year and has a duration of 24 months. At the head of this initiative are the Biochemist Pablo Lagos as project director and Roberto Valenzuela, doctor in analytical sciences and technology, as project coordinator.

Last Friday, at the Innocon facilities and with the presence of regional authorities and professionals from the Technology Center, the launch of this initiative was held, which has financing provided by Gore Biobío of approximately $136 million.

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