This partnership builds on recent efforts between the two groups that validated the effectiveness of Cargill’s new diet for Atlantic salmon grown in land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). The partners started working together in 2018, and the collaboration continues through 2023 and beyond.

Diets fed within RAS must meet the nutritional requirements of fish while causing minimal impact on the fish culture environment. When substandard diets are fed, water quality deteriorates resulting in a range of negative consequences including impaired fish health and performance, inhibited conversion of ammonia to less toxic nitrate, increased water and energy use by filtration devices, and elevated risk for pollution discharge.


The Freshwater Institute provides fish, experimental systems, research facilities, and a world-class team of scientists, engineers, and fish culturists to comprehensively evaluate the effects of newly developed diets provided by Cargill.

  • Fish production personnel maintain continuous operation of replicate RAS while carefully raising Atlantic salmon from egg to market-size. Fish growth, health, welfare, and feed conversion are regularly assessed.
  • Water chemistry professionals perform chemical, biological, and physical testing of water quality.
  • An aquatic veterinarian regularly evaluates fish health through gill, skin, and organ tissue histopathology sampling.
  • Research scientists analyze data to characterize effects of diets on fish performance, nitrification, solids removal efficiency, waste production metrics, and fillet quality attributes.


Research findings from this collaborative project are validating the effectiveness of commercial diets for land-based salmon farming. Results from these studies are helping to ensure that land-based salmon producers have access to diets that support excellent water quality, optimized fish performance, and minimized pollution thereby improving long-term sustainability and economic success.