Agriculture - - Research -

MA­JOR FLUC­TU­A­TIONS in the sup­ply of raw marine ma­te­ri­als and their prices may be ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing the La Niña phe­nom­e­non. With the de­creased sup­ply, farm­ers can an­tic­i­pate an in­crease in the cost of feed pro­duc­tion, adding to the fi­nan­cial bur­den of those in aqua­cul­ture busi­ness. A po­ten­tial feed for hatch­eries dur­ing La Niña is mi­croal­gae paste: con­cen­trated mi­croal­gae cells used as feed for lar­val fish, shrimp, and other aqua­cul­ture species. This prod­uct is the best al­ter­na­tive for live mi­croal­gae dur­ing dif­fi­cult times for pro­duc­tion. It can be stored for three months in a re­frig­er­a­tor with­out di­min­ish­ing its nu­tri­tional qual­ity. Con­cerns as­so­ci­ated with phy­to­plank­ton cul­ture and main­te­nance can be re­duced with the avail­abil­ity of mi­croal­gae paste.

Mi­croal­gae paste is pro­duced from four com­monly used mi­croal­gae species in aqua­cul­ture: Te­traselmis sp., Nan­nochlorop­sis sp., Chaeto­ceros cal­ci­trans, and Chlorella vul­garis.

Mi­croal­gae paste is de­rived from mi­croal­gae, which are mi­cro­scopic float­ing aquatic or­gan­isms that are usu­ally found in marine and fresh­wa­ter en­vi­ron­ments. Con­sid­ered as one of the most im­por­tant wa­ter or­gan­isms due to its uti­liza­tion in var­i­ous fields, mi­croal­gae serves as a nat­u­ral food for milk­fish, shrimp, tilapia, and other fin­fishes and crus­taceans at dif­fer­ent stages. It is also a po­ten­tial feed in­gre­di­ent for cul­ture of dif­fer­ent aqua­cul­ture species.

Since the pro­duc­tion of live mi­croal­gae is done out­doors, it can be ham­pered by fre­quent down­pours; hence the ad­van­tage of mi­croal­gae paste in terms of ad­dress­ing in­suf­fi­cient ra­tions of live mi­croal­gae dur­ing rainy sea­son.

Mi­croal­gae paste is com­mer­cially pro­duced in other coun­tries and is an ex­pen­sive im­ported prod­uct. It costs about US$ 150/liter. The avail­abil­ity of lo­cal al­gae paste as an al­ter­na­tive to live mi­croal­gae is an ad­van­tage for the lo­cal aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try, specif­i­cally for those en­gaged in milk­fish, shrimp, and tilapia hatch­eries, be­cause its use can lower pro­duc­tion costs. Lo­cally, it is pro­duced by the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines-Visayas Col­lege of Fish­eries and Ocean Sci­ences and Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral Sci­ences, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Philip­pine Coun­cil for Agri­cul­ture, Aquatic and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Re­search and Devel­op­ment of the De­part­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (DOST-PCAARRD). (JOBELLE MAE L. ZURAEK, DOST-PCAARRD S&T ME­DIA SER­VICE)

Mi­croal­gae paste can be an al­ter­na­tive to live mi­croal­gae, which is hard to pro­duce dur­ing the rainy sea­son.

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