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Old 09-26-2005, 02:43 PM
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sean sean is offline
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 2,160
Od regarding the fish food. Saw this in my local paper yesterday. Sounds interesting...

Recipe for leftover squid

Two URI professors invent a process that turns the byproduct into fish food.

08:45 AM EDT on Friday, September 16, 2005

Journal Staff Writer

SOUTH KINGSTOWN -- The defrosting mass of frozen squid parts looked like the monster in a sci-fi horror movie, a grayish lump of rubbery flesh and a mishmash of teeny tentacles.

Journal photo / John Freidah

Eugene Park, above left, and Chong Lee are the entrepreneurs behind SquidHydro, a protein-rich food to feed farm-raised fish in the aquaculture industry. The two convert squid waste byproducts into a powdery end product.

These are the parts of the squid the fishing and food processing industry doesn't want -- mostly heads, guts and tentacles that can be an environmental problem if discarded into the ocean. Two University of Rhode Island professors hope to turn those squid byproducts into a profitable business.

Marine BioConversion, the start-up company of Eugene Park and Chong Lee, has developed a process to turn squid byproducts into protein-rich food to feed farm-raised fish in the aquaculture industry.

The two academics hope to move their project from the laboratory to a manufacturing plant in Galilee within a year, said Park, in a recent interview at their URI lab. Park and Lee showed off a basketball-sized lump of frozen squid parts and a sample of their finished product, called SquidHydro, which looked something like curry powder.

After two years of development and testing, Park and Lee say that their fish food performs better than other commercially available feeds, leading to better growth and survival rates for fish larvae.

As the professors explained, the conversion process invented by Lee involves grinding the squid parts and then allowing the enzymes in the squid to break the material down further into something resembling wet, black yogurt. The key is to know when to stop the breakdown to provide the optimal amount of nutrition in the mix, they said.

Their final product tastes like dried squid, said Lee.

The feed is easily digestible and healthful to young fish, the two entrepreneurs said. Squid have a short life span, so they generally don't have time to pick up poisons, such as mercury, from polluted water, Park said.

Park, an associate professor and co-director of the URI Center for Pollution Prevention, recently returned from a trade mission to Newfoundland, Canada, that was part of the annual New England Governors-Eastern Canadian Premiers conference in St. John's. Governor Carcieri also attended.

Newfoundland has a substantial aquaculture industry, Park said, and he is interested in having SquidHydro evaluated there. "That would be a huge boost for us in our marketing," he said.

The business grew out of the Center for Pollution Control's efforts to solve environmental problems generated by squid byproducts, Park said. The business in 2001 received about $75,000 in seed money from the state-financed Samuel Slater Technology Fund to complete research, Park said. He has also put some of his own money into the project.

Park and Lee are negotiating a licensing agreement with URI to commercialize the technology developed at the university, Park said, adding that negotiations with the URI Foundation have progressed "in baby steps." They have yet to agree on what share of the company and its profits would go to the univerity. Park said it may make sense to line up a major investor before completing the licensing agreement so that the investor would have a say in the deal. Investors are interested in their idea, and capital should be available, he said.
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