Work Package 4

WP 4: Analysis of the long-term effects of changes in feed formulations on fish metabolism, performance and quality


The results from previous EUFP studies have shown that much of the fishmeal and fish oil (FM & FO) previously used in "traditional feeds" can be replaced with alternative raw materials (RM), largely of plant origin. However, there is evidence that high levels of plant proteins and vegetable oils (VO) can result in lower weight gain and feed efficiency in salmonids and marine species even though feeds were formulated to cover all known essential nutrient requirements. ARRAINA seeks to address these potential problems by a rigourous re-assessment of nutrient requirments and thereby deliver new and improved diets for the aquaculture industry.


  • To determine the impacts of "alternative" practical feeds, composed largely of non-marine raw materials, over the whole or large part of the production cycle, in the five major European farmed species (Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio)).
  • To evaluate the metabolic consequences of long-term use of feeds with high and combined replacement of FM and FO by alternative raw materials in the five target species.
  • To assess the health and welfare effects of long-term feeding with alternative feeds replacing FM and FO in the five target species. To better understand the mechanisms involved in the roles of dietary nutrients in modulation of pathogenesis and infection in fish.
  • To assess the quality of fish products derived from long-term substitution experiments. To evaluate novel methodology for evaluation of texture as a potential tool for tracing the nutritional history of the fish by correlating data obtained by this method with molecular data.
  • To identify new emerging targeted (e.g. mycotoxins, non-organochlorine pesticides and relevant metabolites and polyaromatic hydrocarbons) and non-targeted emerging contaminants which are related to novel alternative aquafeeds and to assess their feed-to-flesh carry-over in fish, reared on alternative feeds during a full production cycle. The carry-over rates will be used to establish an integrative tool (including meta-analysis of existing data on desirables in farmed fish species) that predicts flesh safety of fish farmed on alternative aquafeeds.

Planned Activities:

To culture all five fish species using new alternative feed formulations and to assess the impact of the new nutrient packages on growth, metabolism, health, flesh quality and contaminant profiles.

Expected Results:

Increased knowledge of nutrient requirements and delivery such that high-quality fish showing good growth rates, health, flesh quality and low contaminant profiles can be produced in European aquaculture systems. Expanded knowledge of "omics" technologies to allow greater detail of the impact of dietary changes on gene expression and thus on fish biochemistry, metabolism and physiology.

Lead Partner: 

University of Stirling (UoS)
Contact person: Gordon Bell
Email: g.j.bell(at)


Logos of partners playing a role in this WP

logotype-INRA-CMJN     nifeslogo2 rgb smaa500    p4 stirling colour

partner 4 logo csic 58    08 hcmr logo 267dpi whiteflag      partner 6 haki hakilogo white

partner 12 ulpgc - policroma300cmyk new     logo insubria con dbsv     biomar short 4c neg     

1 logo vds fond blanc texte bleu     norel logo     logo adsa3

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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.