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Improving sustainability and performance of aquafeeds

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WiseFeed (Improving sustainability and performance of aquafeeds)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Optimization of the digestion process is a must in farming fish. Enhanced utilization of nutrients benefits the farming industry by improving production yield, reducing feeding cost and reducing the environmental impact of undigested excreta. Our knowledge on the overall processing capacity of the digestive system for nutrients in key aquaculture fish species is still limited. The inter-specific anatomical and physiological variability as well as the variety of feeding regimes and protocols tested in each species makes the information very fragmentary and incomplete. The consequence of this incomplete information is the lack of a global perspective on the different mechanisms modulating the nutrients utilization.

The WiseFeed project targets the above mention challenges and will build an integrated network of research groups from the academia and partners in SME and large enterprises where the overall aim is to improve performance and sustainability of aquafeeds for fish production.

Main objective:
Implement a collaborative effort to promote sharing of knowledge and competencies around development of improved feeding strategies, to increase lean growth and at the same time to reduce N-waste in selected key farmed fish species.

Develop models that quantifies digestion, absorption and retention efficiency of selected macro nutrients
Develop software package to optimize feeding strategies
Elucidate the role and effects of specific amino acids and dietary supplements for enhancing, metabolism, growth and N-retention including effects of elevated temperatures due to climate changes.
WP1Modeling intestinal function of Ballan wrasse.
We have built the first version of an interactive simulation model that describes feed intake and digestion in fish. The work has focused on outlining the conceptual design, conduct the programming and started to parametrize differential equations that define the processes. Collection of data to calibrate and validate the model in ballan wrasse and salmon has started and is used to refine the model. A paper detailing the model and calibration process is currently in preparation (Silva et al., in prep).

WP2 Development of a software application to improve cost-benefit of feeding in farmed fish
The existing FEEDNETICS model has been improved in its algorithm for digestion and absorption of nutrients in fish, including making it flexible to include the digestion model that is generated in WP1. The existing POWERSIM model is adapted to allow for simulations based on data from both cobia and salmon. The model will be tested for integration with with gene expression data. Several secondments includes training on working with transcriptomics data to parameterize an advanced FEEDNETICS model.

WP3 Characterization of digestive efficiency in relation to gut transit time in farmed fish
The planned experiments to examine daily pattern of digestive function in relation to feeding protocol with seabream and sole have been completed together with the analyses. Data on optimal hydrolysis have been collected on each species will be used to parameterize the modeling software. We have published results of Senegal sole (Gilannejad et al., 2017); seabream data will be presented at ISFNF 2018. Two ESR of CSIC received training in feed preparation and collaborated in feed digestively analyses at SPAROS. A senior researcher of CSIC was trained on modelling the digestion at SPAROS. As part of Task 4.2 CSIC did extensive sampling to examine, transit time and digestive function in Cobia.. Results were preliminary published as a poster (Yúfera et al., 2016). This received best poster award at the EAS2016. Additional results will be presented at ISFNF 2018, and a complete article compiling all results about digestion in cobia is currently prepared.

The planned experiment for testing feeds additives was done with researchers from BIOMIN using deoxynivalenol-DON (a mycotoxin sometimes present feed) on rainbow trout in collaboration with SPAROS). A ESR of BIOMIN received training in molecular techniques at CSIC. A paper has been submitted with the results. These results will also be presented at Asia-Pacific Aqua conference.

In Task 3.4 an experiment was done in collaboration between the partners CCMAR, BIOMIN and SPAROS to determine the metabolic fate of the mycotoxin DON in rainbow trout diets. SPAROS formulated and prepared the experimental diets. The experiment was done at the CCMAR facilities, during which a young researcher from BIOMIN received analytical training. A manuscript is being prepared.

WP4 Optimizing the growth and N-retention in cobia under increasing water temperatures- the role of methionine
We have run two large experiment with groups of juvenile cobia with different levels of dietary methionine and temperature conditions relevant to realistic climate change scenarios. The fish trials were conducted by NTU in the spring of 2016 and 2017 and with secondments of UIB, NIFES, SPAROS and CCMAR. Several ESRs received and completed training as part of this WP. Most of the analysis from these experiments been conducted as secondments while the rest will be done in Period 2. Currently three papers are being prepared from the cobia trials.

WP5 Management
The research activities and implementation follow the work package objectives, but the time plan has changed. We have amended the plan of secondments and reported the changes to the PO.
The final rescheduling of the Secondments will be done by the end of March 2018

WP6 Dissemination
See elsewhere

WP7 Exploitation of Results
Not yet st
The project has a clear impact on the researchers involved, in particular in development of skills and capacities. This has been most important for the ESR, allowing them to broaden their experience and capacity to conduct research, improving their possibilities to get future projects and positions. Experienced researchers have been developing and strengthening their knowledge, in digestion physiology, fish nutrition, and modelling techniques.

One of the main objectives for initiating the project was to develop new and lasting research collaborations resulting from the intersectoral and international secondments and the networking activities implemented. So far this has resulted in an application to a MSCA ETN, an application for a project to RCN, and a transnational application for a post-doc fellowship, and a research contract between EVONIK & CCMAR.

Implementation of research findings into innovative products and services in the industrial partners includes:
1 Development of a proprietary software that predicts growth and waste production for the major farmed European fish species;SPAROS
2 Documentation of effect of amino acid forms in fish performance;EVONIK
3 Documentation o mycotoxins and feed additives in fish performance;BIOMIN
4 Develop technological basis for improved sustainable feed formulations for commercial use for a series of cultures species; SPAROS, EVONIK, and BIOMIN