Thomas Staessen, Ph.D Student (Belgium)

Area of interest

The area of interest of Thomas Staessen is situated in the fields of animal nutrition and physiology. Before starting his PhD, Thomas obtained his MSc-degree in Aquaculture at the university of Ghent. Before this, he also got his MSC-degree in Applied Bioscience: Food Industry at the University College of Ghent. Thomas would now like to contribute to a more sustainable development of the aquaculture industry, and this in particular by focussing on nutritional/physiological problems occurring in some target species when shifting from traditional animal-based diets to alternative (plant)-based diets.

Relevant Research

Thomas started as a PhD-candidate at the Wageningen University at the end of 2015. He is working on a NWO WIAS project entitled ‘Nutrient digestion and bile metabolism of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in relation to dietary factors’. Unfortunately, for the majority of carnivorous fish, the digestive system is neither built nor adapted to handle large amounts of plant ingredients. This results in poor fat digestion and gut and liver health. Reduction in fat digestibility can be overcome by addition of exogenous bile salts, as are intestinal abnormalities. These beneficial roles of bile salt supplementation highlight the urgency for a better understanding of the interactions between bile metabolism in fish and diet composition when shifting from animal-based to plant-based ingredients. This project should help in making this shift more successful. Therefore it will focus on understanding the interactions and effects of particular dietary components (NSP, cholesterol, methionine and taurine) on the bile salt metabolism, nutrient utilization and fish health.

Contact info
Aquaculture and Fisheries Group
PO Box 338

6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands

thomas.staessen@wur.nl