Shit mix! Sustainable fertilizer production

Jónas Baldursson, project manager at Matís, and Eva Margrét Jónudóttir, expert at Matís, discuss the project Sustainable fertilizer production, a comprehensive approach to the circular economy.

The discussion is about fertilizer nutrients, preliminary results of experiments and whether the project should really have been called Skítamix. The sustainability of processes is reviewed by using by-products from various industries, including compost, meat meal, cow dung, aquaculture sludge, chicken droppings and human waste.

We get to hear what was surprising and the importance of making fertilizer production sustainable.

Don't miss this episode. Listen to the full episode here:

Moderator: Hildur Ýr Thráinsdóttir

The partners of the project are: Atmonia, Agricultural University of Iceland, Norwegian Maritime Research Institute, Landsgrædslan and Landsvirkjun.

The project is funded by: Ranni's target plan


Laurentic Forum conference

On the 29th and 30th of November, the annual Laurentic Forum conference will be held, which this time will be held as an online conference.

Laurentic Forum is a collaboration of companies and institutions in Iceland, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ireland and Norway, where the goal is to promote innovation to strengthen fragile settlements in the North.

The Laurentic forum has mainly focused on innovation in the tourism and fisheries industries. Therefore, the conference program is divided into conference days, i.e. On November 29, the focus will be on the tourism industry, and on November 30, it's the turn of the fishing industry. Matís is part of the Laurentic Forum network, which deals with the fishing industry, but in addition to Matís, the Icelandic group includes Sjávarklasinn, Byggðastofnún, and the Knowledge Center in Vestmannaeyju.

You can see the conference program at Laurentic Forum website and there is also registration. Special attention is drawn to Alexandra Leeper's presentation at Sjávarklasan, which will discuss the full utilization of marine products.


Value creation in Icelandic aquaculture


Gunnar Þórðarson

Regional Manager

Side streams in aquaculture are mostly divided into two categories, ie. K2, which is a fish that dies by itself in pens, and K3, which is offal that occurs during slaughter, as well as heads, spines and trimmings that occur during processing. Raw materials from K2 may not be processed for human consumption or in feed for animals bred for human consumption, and therefore other markets must be considered, for example pet or fur animals. However, K3 can go into production for human consumption or in the feed of animals consumed by humans.

This is a significant amount that is added as a by-product of aquaculture in Iceland. More than five thousand tons of K2 and more than two thousand tons in K3 are expected. Today, these raw materials are mostly processed into malt, which is exported to Norway for further processing into animal feed. Processing of by-products from fillet processing has been frozen and used to make feed for fur farming.

Spontaneously dead fish from pens (K2) are immediately processed on board feed barges and delivered to local Norwegian buyers on board cargo ships. Due to the limited use of this raw material, the values are below the cost price of smelt production. There are more possibilities for the production of digestate from K3, which can be used to make feed for farm animals and even for human consumption, which increases the value considerably. It has been agreed with buyers that if they take K2, they will also get K3, without payment for products of both categories.

In this project "Value creation in Icelandic aquaculture", which was partially financed by the AVS research fund in the fishing industry/Food Fund, points out ways to increase value creation in digestate processing. The project looked for ways to reduce costs and increase value in the production of digestate from the by-streams of aquaculture, where in particular the aim was to reduce transport costs by processing the digestate more, removing fish oil and water from it, which reduces volume and weight during transport and gives the opportunity to work it into more expensive products. Salmon farming in Iceland today is spread across East Iceland and Vestfjörður, in addition to extensive land farming being prepared in at least three locations in the South, and therefore it is important to find solutions to collect and transport the side raw materials from fire and slaughter to further processing, but considerable equipment needed for that.

The project explores important possibilities in the utilization of K2 and K3, which until now has been a cost for the fish farm and could turn it into value creation. To advance these ideas, it is necessary for the research community to work closely with aquaculture companies and regulatory authorities.

  • The thickening is carried out by steaming under vacuum which takes place at 30-50°C and therefore the properties of the proteins are mostly preserved. But during drying, some of these properties are degraded due to the high evaporation temperature during drying.
  • In the future, it would be possible to think of using concentrate directly in feed production and omitting the drying step, which is costly (capital costs are high and also operating costs) and not environmentally friendly. In this way, it would be possible to significantly reduce soot during this processing and the feed would be more environmentally friendly.

To move forward, it is important to develop these ideas in collaboration with the industry and the research community. It is also important that the government and regulatory bodies get involved in order to ensure that the regulatory framework is in line with the needs and requirements of all stakeholders.


Information about the bow crisis in the latest Aries directory 

Bógkreppa is a hereditary genetic defect in sheep in Iceland. The defect is likely to be recessive, meaning that in order for lambs to be born with the symptoms of rickets, they must receive the defective gene from both parents.

This means that the genetic defect has been hidden for years in the Icelandic treasury and then unexpectedly pops up. Matís is participating in a project about the search for the genetic defect that causes bow crisis. The research project is funded by the Professional Council for Sheep Breeding, led by the University of Iceland's Institute of Pathology in Keldum, and in addition to Matís, RML is involved in the project.

In the Aries directory 2022-2023, you will find an informative article about the genetic defect. The Aries directory can be accessed by clicking the button below, the article is on pages 52-53.

Want to know more? Also read a previous article about Matís' involvement in the search for genetic factors of bow crisis, below:


See the TV program about the project Green entrepreneurs of the future


Justine Vanhalst

Project Manager

A special TV program dedicated to the Matís project Green entrepreneurs of the future was shown on the TV station N4 recently.

One of the main outcomes of the project was teaching material about climate change and its effects on the ocean, marine ecosystems, fisheries and communities. The teaching material, which includes, among other things, teaching instructions, information, tasks, games and experiments, is aimed at students in the oldest grades of elementary school and will be trialled in three elementary schools in the school year 2021-2022.

Watch the episode here:


Matís is advertising for a project manager in Vestmannaeyjar


Tinna Brá Sigurðardóttir

Human Resources Manager

Vestmannaeyja Knowledge Center (ÞSV) and Matís ohf. wish to hire a project manager for a 100% job, about a 50% job at each company. The workplace is in the creative environment of ÞSV and partners at Ægisgatu 2 in Vestmannaeyjar.

The main part of the work at ÞSV, in collaboration with its manager, consists of carrying out regional projects on behalf of the Association of Southern Municipalities (SASS) according to a special agreement. Including providing advice in the field of employment and culture and overseeing grants for more interesting projects in the field of regional development in the South. 

The work at Matís is related to procurement, planning and participation in national and international research and innovation projects in the field of sustainable food production. The office in Vestmannaeyjar will be in good contact with food producers in the whole of the South. The person concerned will provide services including food research, consultancy and grant applications to research funds in collaboration with other Matís experts.

Area of work

■ Cooperation with companies, individuals and municipalities on regional development and innovation in the South  

■ Business and operational consulting 

■ Project procurement and assistance with project financing, such as by preparing grant applications 

■ Project management 

Qualification requirements

■ Education that is useful in work, for example food science, fisheries science, engineering, business science or technical education 

■ Good interpersonal skills 

■ Good oral and written communication skills 

■ Initiative, independence and ambition 

All genders are encouraged to apply. Applications must be accompanied by a detailed CV as well as the phone number or email address of the recommender.  

More information about the job is provided by:  

Hörður Baldvinsson, co. ÞSV simi 841 7710 and Jónas R. Viðarsson, department manager at Matís 422 5107. 

The application deadline is 13 November

Photo credit: Shutterstock


Additives for food production
– Matís' new face

The original look and logo of Matís was designed when the company was founded in 2007. The logo has served us well over the years, but now it's time to renew the logo and refresh the image of the company in line with new times and screen media. At the same time, we want to take advantage of the opportunity and sharpen our message and uniqueness in value creation in food production, public health and food safety in the country.

With the latest technology and science, we can now estimate what was previously unthinkable. We support companies and organizations in food production with knowledge, research and ingenuity. Our goal is to make the production of consumer goods more sustainable, more economical and healthier, as well as to develop ways to improve food security in the world.

Additives for food production

Matís' new symbol is a drop, a supplement. We make good better, extend the life of food and are food production supplements. Communication with business partners is a matter of our hearts, and the drop can also represent a speech bubble as a sign of that.

ENNEMM advertising agency was responsible for the design of Matís' new look.


Why salt fish?

The workshop "Why saltfish?" was held on September 28, 2022. The goal of the workshop was to share knowledge from various sources, and look for ways to strengthen the position of saltfish in the domestic market. The workshop was attended by about 40 people, culinary students, chefs, producers, marketers, and last but not least, the Minister of Food, Svandís Svavarsdóttir.

Short presentations were given by Matís experts on the history, culture, effectiveness and dewatering of salted fish. Also about the knowledge and attitude of consumers towards salted fish and its consumption in Iceland. The sensory properties of salted fish were presented, and attendees had the opportunity to taste and compare two types of salted fish and two types of salted fish. MK culinary students then presented their ideas behind salted fish dishes, which were served on the table. After that, we worked in three groups, each of which took on a topic of discussion: "What is salted fish - can we call salted fish salted fish?", "How do we reach the young people?" and "How can the product range be increased?"

The results of the workshop showed that it is important to distinguish between what is truly salted fish on the one hand and salted fish on the other. Salted fish, usually lightly salted or overnight salted, does not have the same characteristics as salted fish, which is finished with salt and brine and then dry-salted even for weeks, which gives this product unique properties such as the characteristic flavor and firm texture, after dewatering.

It seems that there are endless opportunities and opportunities for the saltfish. However, we need to pay better for the way of salted fish to the Icelandic market. Saltfish should really be for us Icelanders, on a par with what parma ham is to Italians, at least.

The workshop was held in the building of the Menntaskól in Kópavogur, in collaboration with Matís, Grím Kokk, Klúbbs Cultreiðslumeista, Menntaskól in Kópavogur and Icelandic saltfish producers. The workshop is part of the project Saltfiskkræsingar (e.g. Trendy Cod) that Matís oversees, and which NORA and AG-Fisk (Arbejdsgruppen for Fiskerisamarbejdet) on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers have provided funding for.

Vinnslustöðin hf and KG Fiskverkun donated salted fish to the workshop.

Find out more about the project Saltfiskkræsingar, by clicking the button below:

Cover photo of saltfish: Lárus Karl Ingvarsson


Fibrous and healthy skin?

An interview with Ásta Heiðrúna E. Pétursdóttir, director of public health and food safety at Matís, was published in Bændablaðin last October 20. There, Ásta reports on the preliminary results of the research project "Fibre-rich and healthy skin? ” which is sponsored by the Food Fund?

In the project Fiber-rich and healthy skin? By-products of fruits and vegetables are being studied to form skins and peels, which are usually thrown away. Various ways of utilizing these side products are being investigated, along with investigating the role of pesticides. Differences between pesticides in Icelandic and imported vegetables were studied and it was interesting to see that the results showed that there are more pesticides in imported vegetables than in Icelandic ones.

The results give us evidence of an increased use of pesticides, but as Ásta reports in the interview, more samples need to be taken in order to be able to draw conclusions from the results.

The interview in its entirety can be found in the 19th issue of the farmer's newspaper, on page 22, by clicking here


New method for monitoring the seabed ecosystem during fish farming in sea cages


Davíð Gíslason

Project Manager

Matís, RORUM, the University of Iceland, the Technical University of Denmark (Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, DTU) and Fiskeldi Austfjarda (Ice Fish Farm) have teamed up on the project BIOTOOL. The project aims at developing new genetic methods for monitoring seabed ecosystems during fish farming in sea cages.

BIOTOOL is a large-scale project, which is unique in that it will use a database spanning over 20-years and advanced technology to study and monitor changes in animal communities associated with fish farming operations. The aim is to develop an economically feasible and more accurate method for monitoring changes in benthic fauna during fish farming, which will both increase efficiency and sustainability as well as being an important guidance tool for legislators.

The BIOTOOL project is based on long-term data on the diversity of benthic invertebrates below and near fish farms and how species composition and biodiversity changes with increased organic load associated with fish farming. In the project, the latest genetic technology in environmental research will be applied, where environmental DNA (eDNA) will be used to measure changes in the bottom habitat under and close to sea cages. The project will use a state-of-the-art Environmental Sampling Processor (EPS) to selectively isolate genetic material directly from seawater and quantify the genetic material from five animal species. The project aims at defining five invertebrate species, indicator species, which show variation in number of individuals with changes in organic load from aquaculture. Genetic eDNA markers will be developed in the laboratory before the method is adapted for the ESP, which can be placed in fjords around Iceland for automatic monitoring of organic load.

BIOTOOL is funded by the Icelandic Technology Development Fund.