Fish aquria at the University of Plymouth
Despite rapid growth, the aquaculture industry faces many challenges that hinder the continued expansion required to feed our growing population – the biggest issues are related to nutrition and disease.
These issues are intrinsically linked to the gut microbiome, which underpins digestion and mucosal barrier function. The intestinal microbiota and their metabolites play key roles in the homeostasis, digestive function, gastric development, mucosal tolerance, immunity and disease resistance of fish. Dietary functional feed additives are increasingly sought to enhance fish microbial balance, welfare and health – replacing antimicrobial growth promotors that have been traditionally used in this role.
Farmed fish can be exposed to stressful conditions in aquaculture operations. Minimising stress and improving fish robustness are key factors that determine welfare and farm productivity.

The first EU approved probiotic for use in aquaculture

For over 15 years, we have partnered with Lallemand on ground-breaking research that has demonstrated the efficacy, and revealed the modes of action, of a large number of in-development and commercially available feed additives, including immunomodulants, nucleotides, probiotics, prebiotics, parabiotics, postbiotics and more.
With over €500,000 of investment from Lallemand, we have investigated key aquaculture species (including Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, European sea bass, Gilthead sea bream, tilapia, carp and zebrafish), generated over 20 peer reviewed publications, and published multiple books and book chapters. Currently, our research focuses on the improvement of the mucosal health of fishes.
Data from this programme was fundamental in demonstrating safety, efficacy and mode of action of Bactocell®, the first probiotic approved in Europe for use in aquaculture. 
Trout Farm

Efficacy of a novel MOS to improve production and health of fish

Helping to refine feed formulations and improve fish welfare and productivity of fish farms, this research will close a number of fundamental knowledge gaps. 
Applying a novel form and source of the prebiotic Mannan-Oligosaccharide (MOS) to fortify the gut microbiome in Atlantic salmon, the aim is to aid digestive function and enhance robustness of their mucosal surfaces.

Brewer’s yeast derived functional feed additives to improve fish health and production

Aimed at improving fish mucosal health and microbiome to ensure they are robust, healthy and efficient at converting feed to biomass, this research aims to address the common challenges in farmed fish who can be exposed to stressful conditions.
Using in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo experiments, we are identifying the beneficial effects of brewers yeast derived products as functional feed additives for applications in feeds for tilapia, carp, Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and other important species.

Aquaculture: Fish Health and Nutrition

The University of Plymouth has a strong research track record in the fields of fish health and nutrition dating back more than three decades. 
Led by Dr Daniel Merrifield, the Fish Health and Nutrition research team actively engages with hatcheries, aquaculture farms and various other organisations, nationally and internationally, to support and conduct research and development at fundamental and applied levels contributing to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, 2 (Zero Hunger), 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and 14 (Life Below Water).
Sustainable aquaculture facilities