Optimising dietary fatty acids and lipids of Atlantic salmon to secure their health and welfare through varying environmental conditions and life stages

Start date: 1. January 2017
End date: 31. December 2019
Financed by: FHF
In cooperation with: Nofima, Nifes, University of Stirling, NIVA, Skretting ARC, Biomar, University of Uppsala
The project is lead by: Nofima


The OptiHealth project addresses a major challenge for the Norwegian aquaculture sector; shortages of fish oil for use in salmon diets for sustainable production growth of healthy salmon. When marine oils decrease in fish feed, the fatty acid (FA) composition of tissues and organs in Atlantic salmon changes. Since fats and specific FAs have central roles in many biological functions, changes in dietary FA composition may affect growth, development and fish health in many areas. This project will focus on areas where knowledge is insufficient/lacking regarding requirement for omega-3 FAs including interactions with changes in total lipid level and omega-6 FAs for salmon health, in particular under challenging environmental conditions. The project will thereby improve the growth potential for the aquaculture industry by creating the knowledge foundation that the industry needs to produce future diets that will meet the requirements of lipids needed to produce a robust Atlantic salmon.


Primary objective: Gain knowledge about the dietary requirement of fatty acids and lipid level needed for production of a robust Atlantic salmon.

Secondary objectives:

  1. To determine the requirement of dietary EPA and DHA that secures fish growth and health under challenging environmental conditions in sea, and whether the total feed lipid content affects this level.
  2. To determine if n-6 fatty acids, n-3 fatty acids and the n-6/n-3 ratio affect fish robustness, including stress coping ability and susceptibility to inflammation and gill infections.
  3. To increase the knowledge of which ratios of dietary ALA, EPA and DHA that gives maximal deposition of EPA and DHA in fish organs and tissues.
  4. Increase the knowledge on how early life nutrition in freshwater and genetic background influence the capacity of the n-3-FA metabolic pathway and oxidative stress and immune responses.

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