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Author: AAP
Date: 31 July, 2013

AUSTRALIAN scientists have created a sustainable super food for prawns which makes them grow at least 30 per cent faster.

CSIRO researchers have been trying to grow marine microbes as alternative food for farmed prawns for at least a decade.

Farmed prawns are usually fed pellets, which are highly unsustainable to make because their key ingredient is fish caught in the wild.

Dr Nigel Preston says his team found a way to grow marine microbes in controlled environments, which mimic conditions of mangroves and estuaries.

The microbes are then harvested and turned into a food additive called Novacq.

“We have developed a game-changing technology that will allow the industry to grow in a far more sustainable way,” he told AAP.

“It’s better for consumers, the environment and prawn farmers.”

Not only is it more sustainable, it’s also much more nutritious for prawns.

Dr Preston says Novacq speeds up their metabolism, so they absorb the feed quicker.

“We’ve done trials with wild prawns that have access to their natural food and to these foods and we find that, again, we get a spectacular 30 to 40 per cent boost in growth rates,” he said.

Dr Preston said the technology used to grow the microbes would work in multiple environments and he predicted many different countries around the world would make use of it.

“The conditions you need to cultivate these organisms on a mass scale are quite low-tech and quite cost effective,” he said.

“Think of the marine equivalent of a wheat field, we’ve done that.”

Novacq is set to be unveiled at the 2013 Ridley AquaFeed Australian Prawn and Barramundi Farmers Conference in Queensland on Wednesday.

Read more at The Australian