Scientists at the University are developing a new plant-based product that could replace fishmeal, reducing the need for farmers to feed fish to other fish at a time when more than 90% of EU waters are at risk from overfishing.
- Business - May 17 YES to entrepreneurial skills initiative
- Business - May 17 Raid on Bitcoin exchange over-the- top, says Professor
- Medicine - May 17 Professor Steve Williams elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
- Earth Sciences - May 17 Flip- flop company Gandys host summer fair at Plymouth University
- Medicine - May 17 Good progress for integrated care pilot
- Medicine - May 17 Grassroots women’s groups could halve maternal death rate
- History - May 17 History meets innovation for new live gaming experience
- Study of Religions - May 17 Female conversion to Islam in Britain examined in unique research project
- History - May 17 Major motion pictures from our prehistoric past
- Medicine - May 17 Salt consumption in India: the need for data to initiate population- based prevention efforts
- Medicine - May 17 Global health policy fails to address burden of disease on men
Finding an alternative to feeding fish fish
It is estimated that in order to satisfy consumer need for fish in an expanding human population, the UK market would need to increase supplies by more than 1.9 million tonnes by 2035.
Currently farmed fish, such as salmon, are fed food containing fishmeal, which means that several kilograms of wild fish are consumed to produce one kilogram of farmed fish.† This has fuelled concerns that there could be a global shortage of fish in the next 20 years.†
To help sustain fish stocks, the aquaculture industry is working towards replacing fishmeal with plant proteins, such as soya.† The difficulty with this approach, however, is that many plants contain anti-nutrients that prevent digestive enzymes from working, resulting in poor digestion and failure to absorb important nutrients.†
Scientists at the University are now leading a consortium including University of the Highlands and Islands; international feed manufacturer, Skretting; the UK’s leading supplier of farmed sea bass, Anglesey Aquaculture; and University of Nottingham based company, Eminate, to resolve this issue by fermenting plant protein sources, which will use ’good bacteria’ to predigest food and make nutrients more available for absorption in the gut.††
Iain Young , from the University’s Institute of Integrative Biology , explains: "Using fishmeal means that you are feeding fish to fish.† With the increasing demand for fish, in a human population that is set to reach just over nine billion in the next 20 years, this approach will continue to deplete fish stocks.† Food based on soya and other beans has been tested as a possible replacement for fishmeal, but unfortunately carnivorous fish don’t maintain good overall health on a diet of plant protein.†
"Studies have shown that fish, such as salmon and sea bass, eat less of the plant protein product and don’t grow as fast.† Their flesh does not receive the necessary levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are a key component of human nutrition.† The food also contains anti-nutrients that cause difficulties with digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as toxins that can build up in the fish."
Solutions to this problem include preheating the plant protein to break down the toxins and anti-nutrients, but this is a costly method to sustain.† Fermentation techniques, however, have proved cost-effective in agriculture and other industries and so the Liverpool team aim to exploit this to replace up to 15% of fishmeal, representing fish sales of approximately £14 million.
Young continued: "Fermentation methods could predigest the toxins and anti-nutrients in plant protein food, making it easier for the fish to absorb and maintain overall good health.† It will help resolve current technical limitations of the product and address the concerns about overfishing and food shortage in the years to come."†
The research is funded by the Technology Strategy Board.
Last job offers
- Chemistry - 1.5
Research Associate in Natural Products Biosynthesis & Biosynthetic Engineering
- History - 17.5
Professor of Early Modern British History
- Pedagogy - 17.5
Lecturer / Associate Professor in Science Education
- Earth Sciences - 17.5
Professor of Aqueous Geochemistry
- Life Sciences - 17.5
Chair in Auditory Genetics
- Medicine - 17.5
Chair in Genomic / Genetic Medicine
- Computer Science - 17.5
Graduate Teaching Assistants - Department of Informatics (Computer Science, Bioinformatics, and Robotics)...
- Arts - 16.5
Professor of Cultural Studies (Part time, fixed term)