Open Innovation Call: Treatments for Ectoparasites in Aquaculture

October 1, 2019

October 1, 2019

Natural Products Canada (NPC) is working with Cargill to identify a natural treatment to repel or kill ectoparasites. The treatment must be delivered orally as a functional additive in aqua feeds.

Closing Date: November 15, 2019

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:  Ectoparasites are an endemic challenge to the aquaculture industry. For example, the indirect and direct losses due to sea lice in salmon production alone are estimated to be greater than USD $400 million annually. Those economic losses are largely associated with the costs of treatments, management strategies, reduced growth rates resulting from infection and/or treatment, and carcass downgrading at harvest.

Aquaculture producers for many years have applied conventional treatments such as anti-parasitics, chemotherapeutics and insecticides to prevent or control parasites. Unfortunately, such treatments have been found to result in accumulation in tissues, and in some cases, result in negative impact on non-target organisms in the environment. Other treatments include chemical baths, mechanical removal and thermal treatments that all create a stress on the fish and may result in wounds from the handling and increased susceptibility to diseases due to suppressed immune systems.

The ideal solution would be recognized as natural with no negative impact on the target species or the environment. The solution must survive pelleting at a minimum, and ideally would survive extrusion. The preferred solution would not be categorized as a drug, nor require a withdrawal period.

Cargill has already evaluated a range of natural plant products and has demonstrated nearly 30% reduction in lice. However, the target is 50% or greater. Cargill is interested in evaluating other compounds that address the considerations highlighted below, or in combination with previously identified products where the solution could exceed 50% in parasite control.

Requirements: Cargill is seeking a natural, cost-effective, oral delivery treatment that repels or kills ectoparasites. The solution could be an individual component or a blend of compounds. 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.
  • Thermal stability up to least 180¬įC. This value could change depending on the point of application with some rapid manufacturing/additives.
  • Minimal impact on any product characteristics (e.g. smell, taste) that may negatively impact feed performance.
  • No negative impact on the target species or the environment.
  • Cost-in-use estimate expressed in $25 (USD) per ton of complete feed. 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.

Technology Readiness: Given the timeframe for implementing an effective solution, there is strong interest in working with companies that have developed their product/solution at least through in vitro proof of concept. While in vivo proof is desired it is not required as Cargill has in-house capabilities to conduct controlled parasite challenges in vivo.

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

Process: 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 November 15, 2019. Selected solutions will be forwarded to Cargill for review. Parties with solutions of interest will be contacted for an initial meeting.

Interested parties should contact Shelley King for more information.

Shelley King, Chief Executive Officer
Natural Products Canada