Science Matters – Episode #4
June 26, 2009 § Leave a comment
Image Courtesy of Alexei Talimonov
At a time when most industries can barely keep themselves alive, let alone drive any kind of market, Canadian aquaculture and fisheries are actually serving as very positive contributors to the nation’s economy. Indeed, fine-finned aquatic vertebrates are the hot topic of research in a new NSERC-led $8.8 million dollar five-year initiative announced last month in Charlotte PEI as part of Canada’s Economic Action plan.
But the problem with aquaculture practice is that the fish in this industry are eating themselves: at present, fish-based feeds called “fishmeal” are used to meet the nutritional needs of fish, and the resources are limited. Alternative feeds, such as plant-based ones, also pose their own problems at the gastrointestinal levels of fish. To contribute to the efforts to optimize fish health and growth, Atsushi Kawano, who recently received his Masters degree from the Biology department at the University of Waterloo, studied just how the fish gut interacts with food components and other microbes.
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