Researchers at the University of Stirling in Scotland have launched a study to look into the effects of a camelina-oil-based diet on farmed Atlantic salmon.
The farmed salmon will be fed a new feed solution that contains oil extracted from camelina crop that was genetically modified make health-beneficial Omega-3 fish oils.
Current industry practice involves feeding farmed fish with feed containing marine fish oil, sourced from the sea, and vegetable oil. Supply from the wild fisheries is, however, unsustainable.
The new study will determine if Omega-3 fish oils coming from the GM camelina plant will be a worthwhile substitute. The researchers will compare the performance of the fish fed the new feed solution in terms of weight and growth of the fish, with farmed salmon fed a standard diet. They will also compare their tissue and molecular samples.
Plant scientist Professor Johnathan Napier, who developed the GM plants at Rothamsted Research, and fish nutritionist Professor Douglas Tocher, of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, will jointly lead the study. Dr Monica Betancor, a Research Fellow at Stirling, will also play a crucial role by checking on the health of the fish and collecting data.
The potential for using Camelina sativa as a substitute for fish oils and fishmeal in aquaculture feeds has been explored in recent years. In April 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency approved mechanically extracted camelina oil for use as a feed ingredient for farmed salmon and trout.