Something Fishy About Astaxanthin
Actually, this blog entry might be better titled, “Something NOT Fishy About Astaxanthin.”
According to the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association …
“Much of the protein used in fish feed comes from small, bony fish — such as anchovies and mackerel — which are unsuitable for human consumption. Other sources of protein include soybean meal, corn gluten meal, canola meal, wheat gluten and poultry by-products. Essential vitamins, minerals and carotenoids — which provide salmon with vitamin A and give salmon their pink colour — are added to their diet.”
Astaxanthin provides the pink color, and most of it is synthetic.
Michael McCoy (“In The Pink: Seemingly lucrative fish-coloring business proves hard for newcomers to crack,” Chemical & Engineering News, Oct. 29, 2007) wrote …
“BASF says its production process takes 14 steps, which is the longest synthesis sequence the company conducts for a single substance. In contrast, when production is by fermentation or extraction from algae, a living organism handles the messy molecule-building details.
“Yet, today, chemical synthesis still dominates astaxanthin production, a business that is worth more than $150 million per year worldwide.”
Genetically engineered food coloring, anyone?
Varda Mann, Mark Harker, Iris Pecker, & Joseph Hirschberg (“Metabolic engineering of astaxanthin production in tobacco flowers,” Nature Biotechnology, 2000) wrote ,,,
“Using metabolic engineering, we have modified the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) to produce astaxanthin, a red pigment of considerable economic value.”
What do wild salmon eat when they’re not locked up and force-fed synthetic astaxanthin in Piscatorial Penitentiary?
They eat shrimp, krill, crayfish, herring, eels, squid, grasshoppers, caddisfly larvae, etc.
They get their pinkitude from the natural color of shrimp, krill, and algae, not the synthetic biotech version of astaxanthin “useful for fish flesh staining.”
Atom Bergstrom is a regular guest on The Morning Show with Patrick Timpone, the first Monday of every month. Check out his interviews here