Alltech Forges Ahead in Aquaculture

Functional nutrition theme of aquaculture sessions at Symposium
May 9, 2006

On April 23-26, 2006, more than 1,500 feed industry experts from over 70 countries all over the world met in Lexington, Kentucky, USA for Alltech’s 22nd Annual International Feed Industry Symposium. The theme of the symposium ‘Delivering on the nutrigenomic promise’, relates nutrition to gene expression, a revolution in how we think about our animals and their health.

Industry leaders addressed the latest scientific findings on delivering health and performance through nutrition and emphasized that natural strategies are reducing environmental impact, replacing chemical additives, making producers more competitive and changing how consumers view and value food animal products.  The diverse group of experts discussed how the most recent innovations will affect the future of the aquaculture sector.

The aquaculture session had several papers revolving around "functional nutrition" or how nutrient and raw material selection can have impacts beyond just meeting the nutritional needs of the animal. Papers presented at the meeting indicated the future of aquaculture nutrition through application of cutting edge technologies.

The role of nutrigenomics in aquaculture research was explained by Ewen McLean, Professor and Director of VirginiaTech Aquaculture Centre and State University, Blacksburg, USA. He demonstrated examples of gene expression profiles and the clear effects of nutritional components on basic molecular pathways. He also highlighted how technology could prove invaluable in the future and could be used to assess the effectiveness immunomodulation by dietary ingredients of aquafeeds.

Awareness of the health benefits of seafood is increasing worldwide, however, the aquaculture sector has also been subject to scrutiny since there is increasing documentation of potential contamination from ubiquitous pollutants. The production of high quality, healthy seafood products can be increased by new environmentally friendly feed ingredient alternatives, as discussed by Craig Browdy, Senior Marine Scientist  and Shrimp Culture Specialist of The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, USA. Alternative natural raw materials will greatly enhance the nutritional benefits of cultured aquatic animals.

Infectious diseases are responsible for major economic losses in aquaculture. Mechanisms for prevention and control of fish diseases were discussed by Patricio Bustos, General Manager of ADL Diagnostic Chile Ltda., Chile. It is widely known that prevention is always more cost-effective than treatment. Unfortunately, for many diseases, vaccines are still not sufficiently effective. The application of immune stimulants and immune modulators is a promising alternative strategy, beginning to show significant effects in disease prevention.

Minerals such as selenium play a functional role as an antioxidant, particularly in the areas of immunity, fertility and muscle function. Long-term experiments are conducted to investigate and evaluate the use of feeding diets fortified with antioxidants to extend the colour shelf life of the Southern Bluefin Tuna as reported by Philip Thomas, Aquafin Cooperative Research Centre, Port Lincoln, Australia. Vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium (in the form of Sel-Plex®) raised the level of the natural antioxidants, resulting in an extension of the colour shelf life of the sashimi-grade tuna meat.

Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech closed the general symposium with an inspirational talk, asking delegates ‘if they were ready for the road ahead’ and encouraged them to imagine a world with no oil imports and no feed shortages. “With science and new developments in technology this maybe a possibility in the future,” he explained. In this way he urged the audience to break critical mental barriers and use their powerful imagination to meet the challenges of the feed industry.

Video highlights from the Symposium are available on  For a copy of the proceedings please contact your local Alltech representative or email