Open Innovation Call: Natural Antioxidant for Aqua Feeds

November 19, 2018

November 15, 2018 


Seeking Natural Antioxidant to Replace Ethoxyquin in Aqua Feeds

Natural Products Canada (NPC) is working with a multinational corporation to identify a replacement for ethoxyquin, an antioxidant for use in aqua feeds.

Market: The global aqua feed market is estimated to be valued at USD 107.82 Billion in 2017 and projected to reach USD 172.56 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 9.9% from 2017 to 2022. Growth in the market can be attributed to increased global fish consumption and is facilitated by the strong expansion of fish production and more efficient distribution channels.

Challenge: Many of the components of aqua feed (e.g. fishmeal, animal protein) are lipid based and subject to oxidation. Therefore, antioxidants are typically included in these raw materials as well as other components of aqua feed premixes. These antioxidants serve to not only protect the raw materials and premixes, but also provide stability during feed processing, storage stability of feed, and ultimately contribute to fish performance.

Ethoxyquin (ETQ) has been commonly used as an antioxidant in aqua feed components, premixes, and more for many years. It functions as a free radical terminator and has been a very efficient and reasonably priced antioxidant in these applications. In June 2017 the European Union decided not to re-authorize ETQ as an acceptable antioxidant. As a result, ETQ is scheduled to be phased out over 2019/2020 in EU feed materials, feed additives, and compound feed. Several countries in Latin America have followed the lead of the EU, and a few key countries have even moved up the phase out date into 2018.

Other synthetic antioxidants like butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) have been used in some aqua feed components, but they do not appear to be a viable long-term solution. Fish farmers are demanding more natural components in their feed products and are pushing for the inclusion of natural antioxidants. ETQ is also used in many other market applications, so a viable alternative may gain access to numerous lucrative markets.

Our client has already evaluated a range of natural tocopherols and found that relatively high use levels and insufficient performance have limited their utility. There is interest in evaluating other materials that address the considerations highlighted below, or formulation approaches that could enhance the performance of known natural antioxidants.

Requirements: NPC’s client is seeking a powerful and cost-efficient antioxidant of natural origin. The solution could be an individual component or an antioxidant system. Key considerations for evaluating solutions include:

  • Material(s) of natural origin, available in volume, that are sourced using sustainable processes. Please state whether the material is of GMO origin.
  • Oxidative stability performance comparable to ETQ (as measured in Oxitester).
  • Thermal stability up to least 180°C. This value could change depending on the point of application with some rapid manufacturing/additives.
  • Demonstrated pH range alone and in a water matrix.
  • Minimal impact on any product characteristics (e.g. smell, taste) that may negatively impact feed performance.
  • Cost-in-use estimate expressed in $X (USD) per kg of finished product. It is understood that cost information may not be finalized but data must be available to determine how a cost target can potentially be achieved.
  • Particle size between 100 – 600 microns if in powder form. (Both dry/powder or liquid soluble forms will be considered as both have pros and cons in commercial feed production.)
  • Product and/or its metabolites retained in the grown species must not be deemed as a potentially undesirable substance and must be below maximum residue level if present.
  • Product must be registered or have a path to registration* in the leading aquaculture-producing countries. Product must be compatible with regulatory bodies of high-producing countries, such as the Chilean Agricultural and Livestock Service.
  • Product must be tested for efficacy and stability in feed and/or any raw material for which it is intended.

Technology Readiness: Given the timeframe for implementing an effective solution there is strong interest in working with companies that have developed their product/solution beyond the bench scale and have at least begun pilot scale up.

*Regulatory Approval: Ideally any solution will have been through a regulatory approval process. However, the client is willing to support a regulatory submission with providers that have demonstrated sufficient technical performance and reasonable cost in use.


Parties with technologies that address the above requirements are invited to submit a non-proprietary overview (no more than 2 pages) of their solution to NPC by December 31, 2018.

Selected solutions will be forwarded to NPC’s client for review. Should NPC’s client be interested, an initial meeting will be arranged.

All interested parties should contact David Gauthier for more information.

David Gauthier, VP Investment

Natural Products Canada