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Projects - dr. F (Fotini) Kokou

EATFISH: European aquaculture training for improving seafood husbandry (Marie SklodowskaCurie Innovative Training Network, MSCA-ITN, Horizon2020, 2021-2024)

EATFISH is a truly multidisciplinary research project aimed at integrating the biological, technical, socio-economic and governance aspects needed for sustainable and profitable aquaculture. Only when these aspects are integrated, competitive aquaculture in a changing seascape will be feasible in Europe. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food sector since the 1970s and its most important purpose is to provide healthy and safe food adapted to consumer preferences.

At the same time, there are fundamental concerns about the ways we farm and transport food across the world, which are related to negative environmental impacts. Hence, sustainable aquaculture has been identified as the “greatest and most feasible” way to obtain adequate seafood for human consumption and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2, 4, 13 and 14 on food security, quality education, climate action and use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

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Nutritional epigenetic programming of gut mucosal health in first-feeding fish (H2020-MSCA-IF-2020 REPROGRAM - 101029186, 2021-2023)

Aquaculture is expected to provide 70% of the fish for human consumption by 2030, as most wild fisheries are either stagnant or grossly over-exploited. To meet future global food demands, aquaculture is expected to intensify production, delivering fish that will have to thrive at high densities in less space. Such intensification can compromise the capacity of fish to respond to pathogens, making them more susceptible to diseases. Enhancing fish immunity and disease resistance is a solution towards sustaining the fast-growing aquaculture sector. Shaping fish health during the critical window of early life to achieve immune competence later in life- the aim of Reprogram – can be a step towards better aquaculture health management. The project aims to explore the concept of nutritional programming using dietary ingredients to enhance gut mucosal health during the first-feeding stages when fish still lack a fully mature immune system. The ultimate aim is to assess the interaction and relative roles of immune-related genes, gut microbes and nutritional programming on subsequent resistance to pathogens. Specifically, the focus is on applying natural dietary immunomodulating ingredients, such as beta-glucans, butyrate or mannan-oligosaccharides to improve fish disease resistance. As the implications of such ingredients during the early life stages via nutritional programming have not been extensively explored, evaluating the potential of early life programming of fish immune-competence is of great importance for increasing fitness throughout life. At the same time, such a practice will reduce antibiotic use in aquaculture, which goes in accordance with the EU One Health Action Plan for environmentally friendly ways of combating diseases. Understanding how the impacts of early life nutrition could be incorporated into programmes for disease resistance, thus improving fish health and welfare in aquaculture.


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