Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Improving sustainability and performance of aquafeeds

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - WiseFeed (Improving sustainability and performance of aquafeeds)

Période du rapport: 2018-01-01 au 2018-12-31

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 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 is the lack of a global perspective on the different mechanisms modulating the nutrients utilization.

The WiseFeed project has targeted the above-mentioned challenges and built an integrated network of research groups from the academia and partners in SME and large enterprises where the overall aim was 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 macronutrients;
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 change.
-WP1Modeling intestinal function of Ballan wrasse.
We have built an interactive simulation model that describes feed intake and digestion in Ballan wrasse. The work has included the conceptual design, the programming and parametrization of differential equations that define the processes. We have used literature date together with own collection data to calibrate and validate the model. A paper detailing the model and calibration process will be published soon.

-WP2 Development of a software application to improve cost-benefit of feeding in farmed fish.
FEEDNETICS software was refined so to predict more accurately growth and environmental impacts in fish farming, as a result of feed formulation and feeding regimes. Major progress was obtained in control of feed intake, digestion and growth, and also the software was extended to salmon. With model improvements the accuracy of simulations in seabream, seabass and trout have also been attained.

-WP3 Characterization of digestive efficiency in relation to gut transit time in farmed fish.
We have conducted a range of experiments to examine daily pattern of digestive function in relation to feeding protocol with seabream and Senegal sole. Data on optimal hydrolysis that been collected on each species has been used to parameterize the FEEDNETICS modeling software. We have published the results of Senegal sole and seabream. 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. We have examined the transit time and digestive function in Cobia. A scientific paper was published on the thematic. A ESR from NTU received training in Yttrium analysis in feeds and faeces by inductivity-coupled plasma mass-spectroscopy (ICP-MS) at CSIC.

An experiment for testing feeds additives was done on rainbow trout. Deoxynivalenol-DON (a mycotoxin sometimes present feed) was used as the test substance. The results have been published. An ESR from BIOMIN received training in determination of molecular expression of enzymes and metabolites at CSIC. An additional experiment was done to determine the metabolic fate of the mycotoxin DON in rainbow trout diets. The results show that an effective method for gastrointestinal DON detoxification in trout requires a period of action less than six hours.

-WP4 Optimizing the growth and N-retention in cobia under increasing water temperature - the role of methionine
We have run two large experiments 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. Several ESRs received and completed training as part of this WP.

During the two periods, two mini workshops were held at NTU with six oral presentations were given to NTU’s staff and students. Four bachelor students at NTU were temporarily recruited during the two experiments, and they have successfully defended their theses with great results. In addition, one PhD candidate also incorporated the cobia experiment into his thesis.

Two papers have been published in peer reviewed journals and one paper has been published in Hatchery feed magazine, an exclusive feed and nutrition for commercial aquaculture hatcheries. Images relevant to the experiments on cobia have been accepted for use on the cover of the Aquaculture Nutrition journal. Two other papers are currently prepared are being prepared from the cobia trials. In addition, four presentations and posters based on results from cobia trials have also been presented to a wide range of audience at international conferences.
The project has had 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 on 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