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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Plant Science Research » Research » Research Project #432131

Research Project: Bioprocessing of Alfalfa for Aquaculture Feeds and Value-added Coproducts

Location: Plant Science Research

Project Number: 5062-12210-003-17-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 2, 2017
End Date: Dec 31, 2019

Objective:
Produce alfalfa leaf protein concentrate from conventionally grown alfalfa as well as seperated alfalfa leaves for use in aquaponics/aquaculture. Investigate the press cake, de-proteinized juice and dry stems in additional value added products.

Approach:
A novel alfalfa harvester developed by ARS will be used to strip alfalfa leaves in the field allowing separation of protein-rich leaves from fiber and carbohydrate-rich stems from a “biomass type” alfalfa variety that has strong, non-lodging stems. Young alfalfa will also be harvested using conventional harvesters. Leaf protein concentrate will be produced from these materials and used in feeding studies of tilapia, perch, and Artic char. This research will determine the viability of APC and alfalfa leaf meal as alternatives to fishmeal in aquaculture feeds, and provide an economic analysis of alfalfa protein concentrate production under different management systems. The Cooperator will consult on aquaculture feed production, assist in producing feed for trials, identify potential cooperators for additional feeding trials, consult on compositional assays to be done, and identify potential developers for coproducts.