Neptune Industries, Inc. today announced what the company called "extremely positive" preliminary results from stage three trials of Ento-Protein™ now under way at Mississippi State University.
Ento-Protein™ is a high quality sustainable protein derived from insects, which is intended to be a replacement for the rapidly depleting fishmeal made from wild caught feedstock species, for which there is currently a $7 billion worldwide market. The trials are being run at Mississippi State University's Wildlife and Fisheries Dept. under the direction of Dr. Lou D'Abramo, to assess the growth and digestibility of several Ento-Protein™ based diets.
Stage three trials began as of February 14 and shall continue through April 14. They involve a total of 600 hybrid striped bass. Of these, 120 striped bass were given a conventional diet, and serve as a control group. The remaining 480 were broken into four groups of 120 fish each. Each experimental group was given a different formulation of Ento-Protein™. However no special ingredients, other than Ento Protein, were included in the diet.
Preliminary results indicate that the growth rate of fish receiving the Ento-Protein™ diets without special ingredients, is 80/85% of the growth rate of fish receiving the control diet with conventional fishmeal, and that the digestibility is excellent.
According to Ernest D. Papadoyanis, Neptune President and CEO, "These are remarkable results, and if verified and confirmed by the rest of the trial, they will represent a significant step forward for Neptune, and indeed for the entire aquaculture industry. Developing a sustainable fishmeal replacement for aquaculture diets represents the single most critical issue facing the industry today, and the news that Neptune has achieved a growth equivalent of 80/85% of that of fishmeal based diets, would be received enthusiastically."
He said, "Neptune's next steps would be to experiment with adding various natural sources that we believe will drive growth rates into the 90-95 percentile of fishmeal-based diets, and justify scale up and mass marketing of Ento-Protein™ as a direct competitor with fishmeal. At the same time, should these results be confirmed, Neptune would expect to bring to market the current formulations for use in specialty markets for pets, zoos, and for tropical fish beginning in the first quarter of 2009."
On February 26, 2006, Neptune filed a Provisional Process Patent on the production and Processing of Select Insects into Protein Meal for Fish and Animal diets. The company began its research and testing program with Mississippi State University in the third quarter of 2007, and has successfully completed stage one and stage two trials. In stage one hundreds of insect species were evaluated for optimal nutritional and production characteristics, based upon both a literature search and actual laboratory analyses. The end result was four potential species for commercial production. In stage two, a 2 week feeding trial with hybrid striped bass was conducted to assess any potential off-flavor in fish fed on the an insect protein-based diet vs. that of a fishmeal-based diet. The results of an independent panel indicated that there was no significant difference in taste, and in fact most panelists actually preferred the taste of the fish fed the Ento-Protein™ based diet.
Mr. Papadoyanis concluded, "Our previous trials all proved very successful in terms of diet acceptability, and the final taste quality of the fish consuming the diet. With the preliminary results of stage three now in hand, we are increasingly confident that Ento-Protein™ can make a significant contribution to the goal of sustainable aquaculture, and provide Neptune shareholders with a large and highly profitable revenue stream for years to come."
About Neptune Industries
Neptune Industries is a technology company which from inception has been committed to achieving sustainable, eco-friendly aquaculture by innovating and pioneering a "total and comprehensive integrated systems solution" approach to the mission critical challenges facing the Aquaculture Industry today. Dwindling supplies of wild caught stocks used for fishmeal, and the continued environmental damage, escapism, and disease caused by self-polluting net pen systems, have severely restricted Industry growth on a global basis.
Our mission is to utilize our expanding production operations base of all-natural, sustainable farm-raised seafood products, as the working platform for the development of innovative, next-generation technologies to dissolve current industry bottlenecks. Further, our commitment is one of systems integration that targets "zero waste." Fish, organic produce, and waste-to-energy systems synergize to form a production model with multi-revenue streams.
Thus far, the Company has applied for patents and has made significant progress in the development of three technology platforms, one of which its calls "Ento-Protein," the second of which it calls "Aqua-Sphere," and the third of which is known it calls its "Aquaponics." Taken together as components of a whole, this total integrated system solution approach addresses what the company believes to be THE three critical problems stymieing the growth of the Aquaculture industry which will invariably cause it to fall increasingly short of growing worldwide demand.
Aqua-Sphere™ is a state-of-the-art scalable, modular, floating closed containment system that is capable of concentrating and removing solid waste, eliminating predation and escapement, utilizing alternative energy for remote applications, and isolating crop from the environment.
Ento-Protein™ is a truly revolutionary development pioneered by Neptune to be a high quality, sustainable protein derived from insects which is intended to be a replacement for the rapidly depleting fishmeal made from wild caught feedstock species, and is currently a $7 billion market.
Aquaponics is the existing practice of integrating fish and plant production through soil-less culture (hydroponics) using the waste effluent as fertilizer. Neptune has advanced the methodology through the use of the Aqua-Sphere™. The hydroponic system provides a revenue stream off of the waste component of the fish production through very high quality organic herbs and vegetables. In addition, as another part of the water treatment and Aquaponics system a derivative product of algae is grown in floating socks, which is the 30x more productive than corn on a per acre basis, for the production of bio-diesel.
Finally to validate and test Neptune's solutions and technologies, the Company operates a sustainable fish farming facility in Florida City, Florida called Blue Heron Aqua Farms, Inc. Blue Heron Aqua Farms currently is one of the leading producers of hybrid striped bass, which it markets nationally and internationally as Everglades Striped Bass™.