Work Package 3

WP 3: Definition of quantitative nutritional requirements for European farmed fish species


There is a clear lack of knowledge on quantitative nutrient requirements of all the species under consideration for maximal growth performance and optimal health that will be addressed in WP3. Sustainable diets with high plant levels result in lowered performance and altered metabolism, with several symptoms related to lack fulfillment of nutrient requirements. In WP3 we will focus critical stages during the life-cycle, including exogenous feeding of marine larvae, smoltification in salmon, and the requirement during sexual maturation and spawning.

The sparse data available from nutrient requirement studies in first-feeding of marine larvae have been obtained by feeding live prey (rotifers & artemia) enriched with specific micro nutrients. Some progress has been made in recent years in developing complete inert feeds that have been used to determine requirements for some nutrients of fish larvae (WP2) and on the use of plant protein concentrates in first-feeding larvae. Nevertheless, given the small particle size (50-100µ) necessary, issues regarding the protection of water-soluble compounds will require adequate vectors (WP2) for studies on requirements of larvae (WP3) and remains challenging. It is encouraging that novel methods of estimation of nutrient requirements of larvae and their utilization have been developed by partners involved in ARRAINA.

When dietary protein and lipid sources are changed from fish-based to plant-based ingredients, there is a concomitant change in a range of dietary nutrients, especially micronutrients. Large variations are found in vitamin and mineral contents of FM, corn gluten meal and dehulled and solvent extracted soybean meal, the most commonly used plant ingredients in fish feeds. When using feeds with low levels of FM and/or FO an additional constraint, hitherto not considered seriously, is to meet the animals' requirements in micronutrients and to ensure their supply and bioavailability. It is common practice to resort to mineral and trace element mixtures based on the few quantitative data available for some of species (trout, carp), and applying these to other species irrespective of the ingredients used in feeds. As well as trace elements, it is also known that the contents of choline and some B-vitamins are low in plant-based diets compared to FM based diets.


To strengthen knowledge on nutrient requirements of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), carp (Cyprinus carpio), seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and sea bream (Sparus aurata) by providing reliable quantitative data at critical points throughout the life cycle.

Planned activities:

  • Meta-analysis of available data on nutrient requirements with a follow-up review on nutrient levels and availability from feed ingredients available for EU fish feed industry.
  • Quantitative nutrient requirement studies on the total nutrient package in Atlantic salmon and sea bream.
  • Requirements for specific nutrients deficient in a diet low in marine ingredients; here we will focus phospholipids; minerals; sulphur amino acids.
  • Effects of nutrient interactions on quantitative nutrient requirements; this will involve interactions between nutrients and how this affect requirement, and how undesirables present can alter nutrient requirement.

Expected Results:

Establishment of requirement data of marine specific nutrients which are short in plant based diets. Sufficient data to meet nutrient requirement in sustainable plant based diets, at critical stages throughout the lifecycle for the five targeted species.

Lead Partner:

Nasjonalt Institutt for Enaerings-Og Sjomatforskning (NIFES)
Contact person: Gro-Ingunn Hemre
Email: gro-ingunn.hemre(at)


Logos of partners playing a role in this WP 


logotype-INRA-CMJN   nifeslogo2 rgb smaa500   p4 stirling colour

08 hcmr logo 267dpi whiteflag    partner 12 ulpgc - policroma300cmyk new     logo ccmar eng use eng version

wageningen university      biomar short 4c neg 


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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 /2007-2013) under grant agreement no 288925. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which maybe made of the information contained therein.