In the wild, Atlantic salmon have a pink flesh colour that comes from eating crustaceans, mainly small shrimp. These crustaceans contain natural carotenoid pigments that provide precursors to vitamin A and function as antioxidants.
These antioxidants help enhance the salmon’s immune system and protect tissues against oxidative damage. Carotenoids are transferred from muscle to ova when female salmon mature and helps protect them from sunlight when they are released into the river and fertilised.
As salmon cannot synthesise carotenoids we need to add a pigment in the feed that will provide our farmed salmon with this same level of protection.
Astaxanthin is a commonly used carotenoid in salmon feed which was first identified in the lobster Astacus gammarus. The pigment we use in our salmon diets is nature identical.