Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge 2018

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Synergistic Effect of Microencapsulated Feed Additives, Safely help fish larvae, through appetite, digestion and absorption problems in the weaning stage

The global problem of nutrition is expanding year after year with the massive increase in the populations. According to the FAO in 2050 there will be a total of 793 million suffer from chronic hunger, regularly not having a satisfactory food to conduct a normal life. The solution is always to increase the production ability of feedstock. Aquaculture is one of the growing sectors all over the world. The threat that continuously facing this sector is feed sustainability. Aquaculture industry growth impaired by fishmeal scarce and a bottleneck stage that exists in some fish species (weaning). Any partial/complete substitution of preferably used feedstuff with other cheaper source will be faced with a decrease in appetite, digestion and consequently, the absorption will be also affected. Feed utilization is the controlling factor for feed conversion which is the ability of the animal to transform feed to body weight.


The following understanding of nutrition as a broad term, it consists of several physiological steps each act as a stone angle, The first is (Appetite) feed intake which is controlled by the brain, then the ability of the animal to digest food and that is controlled by the endogenous enzyme activity, Lastly the absorption process through the intestinal wall. The previous factors will control the reflection of the feed utilized on the body weight (body weight gain and feed conversion ratio). All those previous points are the limiting factors that controlling the physiological process that is called nutrition.


Different feed additives can have a direct effect on each of the previously mentioned three limiting factors (Appetite, digestion, and absorption) and a high possibility of synergism between them exist. Examining the selected feed additive individually in gradual doses and examining possible synergism between them is one of our main targets. Evaluating their effects on the target stage (weaning) alone and selecting the best dose. Exploring the synergistic effect of the selected feed additive between each other and how much it helps fish going through the weaning stage.


Unfortunately, during the addition of such feed additive, some are lost or deactivated due to the environmental factor (e.g., heat, moisture, air, and light). Microencapsulation is the practical solution as it not only protects the feed additive but it also ensures the proper mixing, decrease the losses during feed production and decrease the feed additive loss in the water. 


 In sum, the main objective of the current work is comparing the effect of each feed additive in both the natural form and the microencapsulated form and evaluating the synergistic effect of the mixture in both forms on the weaning stage of fish.


  The main outcome of the previous steps will lead the research work to a final two veterinary feed additive product helping the targeted animal having a better feed conversion with less cost, reaching to the target growth in the least time with the least cost. This two products will be a prototype to be followed in the industrial sector on a large scale.

Describe the problem your company wishes to solve and how your product or service will solve it

Recently Feedstuff prices had increased dramatically, customers from the animal production sectors and feed manufacture factories are in continuous looking for solutions either through cheaper feedstuff substitutes and/or using feed additives that maximize the utilization of both the commonly used feedstuff and/or the cheaper substitutes.

The existing feed additives are working is separate islands without testing the possibility of synergism of certain types targeting critical stages (Fish weaning) in the animal nutritional process. Previously each type of feed additive require certain enteric environment so it was hard to form a mixture of different feed additives but with a little technological advancement, this limitation had changed giving the feed industry sector the chance of producing different feed additive mixtures that can improve the feed conversion ratio to its maximum level and help animals to adapt to new diets.

In commercial systems with using genetically modified species, the most crucial and variable cost in the production cycle is the feed, as it costs between 65 to 70 percent of the production. For ensuring high survivability and using the most of the production capacity of such species, farmers have to use nutritionally balanced diets, meeting the nutritional requirement of such strains.  Improving the feed conversion and increasing the feed efficiency is the key factor for better usage of the nutritional cost in any project. The following will discuss the problem from a different perspective.

Firstly, appetite is the first brain physiological response to hunger, some feedstuff is palatable to fish but others are not. Using feed additive to improve this physiological step is a primary key factor in increasing the feed consumption, the different research group had worked on some attractants to improve the feed consumption to a cheaper feedstuff and some had promising results. Unfortunately, that is not only the main target, it has to be accompanied by an improvement in the other physiological steps of nutrition as digestion and absorption.

Secondly, the digestion of the targeted nutrient. Protein is the most expensive nutrient from a certain point of view. Improving protein digestibility will be targeted in the feed additive mixture to overcome the anti-nutritional factor naturally existing in the feedstuff that some still exists even after the manufacturing. The fish turning from live preys to formulated feed (A bottleneck in the production process) is highly depending on the high quality and quantity protein in the diet. We can add to that, the endogenous enzymes (types and activity) are not fully studied yet in the post-larval stage which could be a bit challenging for the fish to directly digest the manufactured diet without exogenous support. Thirdly, the absorption process, the absorption is the ability of the intestinal wall to uptake the freed nutrients after the digestion process. The absorption process is always impaired by either the captivity of the nutrients or an unhealthy intestinal wall that cannot perform well. The third component of the synergistic feed additive will be concerned with the absorption process.

 

In summary,  The three previously mentioned steps will be targeted with different feed additives, the used feed additives are expected to be compatible to work in synergistic action for safely transfer the fish through the weaning stage. Yet, some other challenges remain unsolved. The chosen food additives,  are prone to destruction and cannot withstand normal feed preparation processes. Therefore, encapsulating the chosen additives into biodegradable microcapsules was thought. The microencapsulation process is considered in this project for a variety of reasons: (1) encapsulation can protect the core material from degradation by reducing its reactivity to its outside environment (e.g., heat, moisture, air, and light), (2) preserve the activity as much as possible and decrease deterioration during preparation and storage, (3) ensure proper mixing with other ingredients in the host feed, (4) decrease the loss in these costly materials during production/mixing steps (5) the physical characteristics of the original material can be modified and made easier to handle. 

Describe other business assistance that you are seeking from Nutreco

Developing the research to a new product that can help in solving the presented problem. 

Are you available to participate in the final event in the Netherlands 28, 29, and 30 May? All expenses will be covered by Nutreco

Yes

Describe how the prize - a validation trial in our facilities - could boost the development of your business

The Trial will give us a chance to explore the response of the fish on both, the related genes level and on the performance parameters. Also, it will help me being part of your R&D, to develop the idea into a scientifically and commercially approved product. 

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teresa debesa 2 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Reply 1

Mohamed Emam 2 months ago

Thank you Teresa!!!

Reply 0

David Peggs 2 months ago

Hi Mohamed,
Thank you for your submission.
Are you focusing this idea on any specific additives or do you think it will have a broad application for many additives? Also, are you focusing on any specific fish species/market? And do you think that probiotics are a possible candidate to be encapsulated in this way? Finally, can you elaborate a little more on what types of samples you would like to analyse in order to test the success of the process if a validation trial were to take place?
Thanks,
David

Reply 1

Mohamed Emam 2 months ago

Hi David,
It will be a pleasure participating in the offered challenge, yes, I am focusing on certain feed additives that are environmentally friendly, Applying this experiment on different fish species would be a great Idea but probably starting with a common species to farmer so it can reach to the consumer as soon as possible. There are a well known genes controlling appetite in the hypothalamus, other biochemical and IHC tests that can help in identifying and measuring the activity of some enzymes in the intestine. Digestibility trial could be useful at certain point, survival rate and the performance parameters are the main core.
Thanks
Mohamed

Reply 0

teresa debesa 2 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Reply 0

Mohamed Emam 2 months ago

Thank you Teresa!

Reply 0

teresa debesa 2 months ago

Status label added: Full business case submitted

Reply 0

Mohamed Emam 2 months ago

Thank you Teresa

Reply 0

Khalil Safaei 2 months ago

Good luck!

Reply 0

Mohamed Emam 2 months ago

Thank you Khalil!

Reply 0

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