Research areasPlant toxinsProjectsSafeFish    December 18, 2017
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SafeFish - Implications of green fish feed for consumer safety - carry-over of plant peptides, natural toxins and bioactive compounds

The continued growth of Norwegian aquaculture depends on the utilisation of new, sustainable protein resources for fish feed since marine reserves are limited. The last decade has seen a tremendous transition from marine to agricultural feed materials, which currently make up to 70 % of the aquafeeds used in Norwegian salmon farming. Commonly used are protein preparations derived from wheat and legume plants, mostly soy and pea.
This complete change in the diet of fish has led to new challenges regarding fish health and welfare, and product quality.  Many initial problems have been solved by extensive research on feed processing methodologies and feed compositions. The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) has, however, recently pointed out in an updated benefit-risk assessment of fish and fish products that plant ingredients may introduce new contaminants into feed, which could be transferred into the eatable portion of fish and might be a risk for consumer safety.

The SafeFish project attempts to fill this data gap by determining the carry-over potential of three typical constituents of plants: plant peptides (stable fragments of plant proteins), mycotoxins (products of fungi infections), and hormone-like compounds (phytoestrogens). Custom-made feedingstuffs containing different amounts of typical plant protein preparations will be used in studies in a zebrafish model and in on-growing salmon. Fish muscle and organs will be analysed with a multitude of analytical methods (proteomics, chemical analysis, fish nutrigenomics, fish transcriptomics, immunochemical assays including test with food allergic patients) to study effects on fish physiology and substance carry-over, and finally to access consumer health risk.

This multi-disciplinary project involves the collaboration of two Norwegian research institutes, two Norwegian universities, a Norwegian university hospital and one university in the USA, and includes the training of one PhD student.

Funding: NFR Havbruk2 2016-2020


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