Fishing for Functional Feed: understanding the immune modulatory efects of novel feed ingredients to secure fish health
The demand of fish protein in diets is increasing worldwide. Since captured fish are not enough to fulfil that need, farmed fish production had risen accordingly. Aquaculture diets mainly consist of fish meal: a dried powder made out of unsold whole fish, fish bones and offal. The fish meal price increased due to its demand and fisheries tried to substitute it for plant based protein meals. Such replacement lead to intestinal inflammation and poorer nutritional intake in the fish host. To date, a reliable, in vivo animal model for testing novel, healthy and sustainable food components for farmed fish is missing. The main aim of the project is to set up a pre-screening zebrafish model in order to disclose unique health-promoting feed ingredients such as anti-inflammatory properties for aquaculture diets. We intent to strengthen the knowledge of molecular nutrition and fish health and its underlying fundamental mechanisms. Zebrafish are an established well-known model for intestinal homeostasis. Therefore, by using larvae, juveniles and adult zebrafish we will set-up a toolbox of read-out parameters to scientifically base the choices for novel and health-boosting food ingredients.
Picture: Zebrafish larvae Tg(mpeg1:mCherry/mpx:eGFPi114) exposed to 1 mg/ml saponin (right column pictures) in solution for 3 days displeyd increased number of neutrophils (in green) but not macrophages (in red) compared to controls (left column pictures)