Feed formulations based on accurate nutritional requirements are central to aquaculture production and its current demands for further growth and sustainability. Finfish in aquaculture, but also shrimp, are heavily dependent on their fed diet, while regulation of feed intake and waste production determine dissolved oxygen and thus critically influence growth performance and health. Diet composition, including protein and carbohydrate content, energy, but also physical properties of fish feed are all crucial determinants of the fish’ metabolism and health.
Diet composition, including protein and carbohydrate content, energy, but also physical properties of fish feed are main subjects of research by Dr. Johan Schrama at the Aquaculture and Fisheries group (AFI), and at the nutrition section of Wageningen Livestock Research (WLR) where Dr. Jeroen Kals focuses on the nutritional value of (marine) ingredients and development of species-specific feed formulations.
Novel marine ingredients for fish feed such as seaweed are studied at Wageningen Livestock Research (WLR) by Wouter Muizelaar. At the Bioprocess Engineering group (BPE) and at AlgaePARC, engineering of efficient bioprocesses for photoautotrophic and heterotrophic algae for biobased products are optimised to include the use of micro-algae for larval fish feed and studies into algae-based oil as omega-3 source for fish diets.
Penaeid shrimp change their diet from very early stages to postlarval and juvenile stages. Larval crustaceans have a simple gut structure that gradually becomes more complex. These changes in the physiology of the gut and gut enzymes complicate the design of nutritious, easily digestible diets. Extrapolation of finfish knowledge on the interactions between diet and health to shrimp resilience is of main interest to Marit Nederlof of the Aquaculture and Fisheries group (AFI).
Aquatic microbial life (dr. Detmer Sipkema, Microbiology group), fundamental studies into mucosal homeostasis and microbial composition in the zebrafish animal model species (dr. Sylvia Brugman, Host-Microbe Interactomics group), the relationship between the fish microbiome and the system microbiome present as biofilm in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and studies on gut homeostasis for fish performance and health (dr. Fotini Kokou, Aquaculture and Fisheries group) are focus areas.
Training the next generation
At Wageningen University, we train the next group of experts in aquaculture at annual International Fish Nutrition Workshops organised by the Aquaculture and Fisheries (AFI) group.
Also, at the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (WCDI) we work on processes of innovation and change through facilitating innovation, brokering knowledge and supporting capacity development.