The research at the Aquaculture Protein Centre (APC) aims at extending the resource base for feed production and thereby contribute towards further developing the aquaculture industry in Norway and internationally. This is done by increasing knowledge and improving conventional and new protein sources from plants, microorganisms, marine and terrestrial animals. Protein sources are evaluated for nutritional value, contents of antinutrients, and their effects on physiological function and disease resistance . Knowledge of nutrient requirements is also fundamental for the improvement of nutrient utilization and is a main area of research in APC.
Development of processes to eliminate or reduce antinutritional factors in plant feedstuffs has high priority in A PC. Bacterial protein produced from natural gas (BioProtein®) has potential as a large resource and for the development of value-added products and is therefore one of the new protein resources with high priority. Antarctic krill has recently been made av ailable for fish feed, and work at APC aims at developing required knowledge for sustainable use of this resource.
A better understanding of interactions among new feed ingredients and their effect on digestive function, nutrient metabolism, infection de fence mechanisms and disease susceptibility, is necessary for safe use of new feed ingredients. Research at the APC fills gaps in basic knowledge of the regulation of digestion, transport and utilization of nutrients, and immune mechanisms. Disease challe nge studies will elucidate the relationship between disease resistance and feed composition.
Formulation of nutritionally balanced diets requires correctly expressed requirement figures estimated from representative and well designed experiments. An imp ortant improvement is the development and introduction of an alternative method for establishing amino acid requirements; Requirement by Ration Level (RRL). In contrast to the traditional Requirement by Dose Response method, the RRL method does not give t he minimum requirement for the individual amino acid. The RRL method, however, addresses all of the indispensable amino acids in the same experiment and separates the requirements for maintenance and tissue gain. This information will increase the underst anding of amino acid metabolism in fish, and thereby permit more efficient use of the protein resources and ethical production.