Ingredient Evaluation

Ingredient companies and Aquafeed companies need to assess whether new ingredients can replace fishmeal and fish oil in aquafeeds. The F3FIN network suggests the Ingredient Evaluation Flowchart below for assessment. The terms and definitions used in this flowchart are found here.

• Start by clicking the Start Button.
• If desired, select a step of interest from the flowchart instead. To view protocols for a specific step, click on the download icon
• When finished, click on the next arrow.
• Questions? Check out our FAQ Section  or contact us.

Information on nutrient digestibility can be found in this copy of the USDA Agricultural Research Services Digestibility Database.



Where can I find a feed mill willing to produce small quantities for feed for these tests?

Feed mills will often accept orders for large quantities of feed. However, it can be tricky to find a feed mill that will produce small quantities of custom formulas, which is what you will need for many of the ingredient evaluation tests. Check out our Small Batch Feed Production list for feed mills who are willing to produce small batches of customized feeds.

Do you know of a feed mill that is not our list? Let us know and we will add them.

Do I need to perform all of these tests each time I want to feed my ingredient to a new species?

Nutritional composition analysis does not need to be performed each time a new species of fish is being tested. However, we recommend that all other tests be performed each time a new species is tested.

If I make changes to my ingredient do I need to run all of the tests again? 

Changing the nutritional composition of your ingredient may impact the outcomes of the remaining tests. Therefore, we recommend that ingredients go through the evaluation process again if significant changes are made to the ingredient’s composition.

My funds are limited. Can I prioritize or combine these tests? 

Yes – functionality, palatability, and digestibility testing may be combined to conserve funds.

What is AFIRE and why should I upload my experiment results to AFIRE?

AFIRE is the F3 Feed Innovation Network’s Aquaculture Feed Ingredient Resource Engine (AFIRE). The goal of this tool is to showcase scientifically relevant information regarding alternative ingredients to enable feed companies to compare fishmeal and fish oil substitutes. Uploading your experiment results will help make your ingredient more visible to feed companies and potential clients.