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by A. Reza Kamarei, Ph.D., director, Nutrition Department

Aquatic Feeds: The aquatic feeds processing lab manufactures all types of research feeds for the marine fish and shrimp being studied at OI. Aquatic feeds are formulated with known ingredients and amounts. These ingredients are ground, mixed, and pelleted to specific manufacturing parameters in order to meet the nutritional and physical properties required by the different types of animals being fed.

All feeds manufactured are subjected to a rigorous quality control program to ensure they meet industry standards for physical, sanitary, and nutritional quality. The information generated by the feed lab allows the commercial feed industry to develop cost-effective feeds for the aquaculture farmer.
Aquatic Nutrition: This research seeks to find ways of reducing feed costs while improving growth and maintaining animal health. To do this, nutritionists must determine the nutritional requirements of the animals for growth, health, and reproduction and then try to find the most economical way of formulating feeds which meet these needs. A good example would be replacing expensive ingredients such as fish meal with less expensive ingredients such as soybean or other plant meals. Other important areas of nutrition research include how the animals are fed (feeding frequency, feeding rate), and the interactions between the animals, the feed, and the culture environment.

Aquatic Foods: This research integrates and investigates the impact of feed inputs and culture system parameters on product quality and safety. The goal is to tailor production and processing methods to meet consumer demands for quality seafood, together with increased convenience, availability, and safety. Specific areas of research include: optimization of production parameters to obtain desirable product characteristics such as flavor and texture; development of innovative value-added technology and heart-healthy aquacultured seafood products; improved utilization of aquaculture and fishery processing by-products in foods; development and testing of protocols for seafood safety compliance; and quality testing and sensory evaluation of aquacultured seafood.

Nutritional Biochemistry: The nutritional biochemistry laboratory investigates the nutritional components of shrimp pond ecosystems and performs biochemical analyses. This helps to advance our understanding of the role of compounds and micronutrients from marine plankton in shrimp growth. Analytical services include determination of the nutritional content (e.g. proximate composition, fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals) of aquatic feeds and aquatic foods.

Two major projects are currently underway in the Nutrition Department. The tropical aquaculture project works to develop feeds for optimum nutrition of cultured shrimp and finfish. The overall objective of this project is to vertically integrate, from raw materials, to developed feeds, to final aquacultured seafood products, the science and technology required for sustainable production of Pacific white shrimp, and the model tropical fish species, Pacific threadfin and longfin amberjack.
The second project involves converting Alaska fish by-products into value-added products and ingredients. It is being conducted in collaboration with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the University of Idaho. The over-arching goal is to develop new knowledge to increase the value of underutilized seafood processing by-products for aquaculture and agriculture in a sustainable manner.

The Nutrition Department welcomes HPU researchers and students for collaboration and internship opportunities. E-mail gkarr@oceanicinstitute.org.


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