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IIT-Kharagpur develops fodder to make fish tastier

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The Economic Times
12th February, 2019 07:43 IST

New Delhi: Here’s some good news for fish eaters: with the help of technology, researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT-Kgp) have come up with fish fodder that would improve not only the size but also the taste of fish.

Zelence, a startup incubated at the Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park at IIT-Kgp, has branded this product ‘Mr Fish’. This product has been developed from natural bioactive molecules, cultivated probiotics and special enzymes, all of which are being produced at the IIT’s lab.

The use of the bioactive product in the fodder produced by the researchers enhances the size, taste and nutritional quality of fish, claims Jayanta Bhattacharya of the Department of Mining Engineering and School of Environmental Science and Engineering at IIT-Kgp. Bhattacharya is also one of the directors at Zelence.

Zelence has another such product based on in-house formulation for dairy operators. It has filed for patent for this product called ‘Happy Milk’, which is formulated using technology that enhances the milking capacity of cows along with increasing the nutrient quality.

“Application for patent rights for ‘Happy Milk’ is at an advanced stage and talks are on with major FMCG companies for partnership,” said Bhattacharya. Researchers at IIT-Kgp are yet to file the patent for Mr Fish. The startup is trying to wind up its testing before filing for the same.

This product is being tested in West Bengal with successful results. “So far, there has been no product available in the market that enhances fish quality while stopping the deterioration in taste. Most of the products deal with disease control in farming but no product till date ensures fish taste and quality,” said Bhattacharya.

“Mr Fish increases the resistance power of fish and enhances its quality and texture by evenly distributing the fatty acid content and right amount of taste-active organic components plus increasing the feed conversion ratio,” said Bidus Kanti Das, biotechnologist at IIT-Kgp and a director at Zelence.

There is a growing interest in Mr Fish from farmers of West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Bangladesh, said Bhattacharya.

The technology was developed in the laboratory of IIT Kharagpur over two years and has been under field testing for more than a year.

The company is also looking for national and international partners and investors. “As there is almost no product in this category, a new business segment in aquaculture is being envisaged,” said Das.

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