Research programs are based on the particularities of nutritional metabolism in fish: high protein needs for growth, preferential use of amino acids for energy production, low efficiency of carbohydrate utilization, particularities of lipid metabolism (biosynthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids, fatty acid disposal sites), and continue muscle growth. These researches are performed using fish models like the rainbow trout and also zebrafish for specific fundamental studies.
The scientific objective of NuMeA is the analysis of metabolism regulation by nutrients in fish (mainly carnivorous) through an integrative approach. The final goal is to provide practical recommendations for new feeding strategies in aquaculture: from new aquafeed formulas (based on alternative ingredients to marine fisheries resources (fishmeal and fish oil)) up to technical innovations (such as finishing diets or specific diets at early stages) and to new genotype characterization with specific nutritional responses.
The project is organized around three priorities to permit the development of new aquafeeds in aquaculture and to conduct fundamental research in nutritional sciences (for which the fish model is relevant).
The objective of the Theme “Amino acids and growth” is to encourage the use of dietary amino acids for protein accretion and muscle growth. Its scientific objectives are to analyze the role of amino acids in the metabolism (in interaction with other nutrients and insulin) and the processes that determine muscle growth.
The objective of the Theme “Lipid and fatty acid deposits” is to optimize the deposition of ω3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in order to preserve the nutritional value of fish flesh and its relevance to human health. The scientific objectives are to study the nutritional regulation of pathways involved in the formation of fat reserves and deposits of ω3 in muscle as well as in their preservation.
The objective of the Theme “New feeding strategies” is to remove the obstacles that limit the replacement of fish meal and fish oil in aquafeeds. To contribute to these issues, the scientific objectives are to acquire new knowledge on the regulation of ingestion and carbohydrate utilization, and to identify metabolic pathways strongly affected by the new diets. The studies about nutrition-genetic interaction are also useful to answer to some of these questions.
For the studies about physiological, biochemical, cellular and molecular use of nutrients involved in the determination of muscle growth and quality of body reserves in fish, research are supported by two experimental farms (at Donzacq, Landes, with water at 17 ° C, and at Lees-Athas, Pyrenees Atlantiques, with water at 7°C), thermoregulated recirculating circuits at St-Pee, as well as a capacity to produce experimental aquafeeds with an extruder (Donzacq).
Research programs are subject to national - international scientific collaborations and partnerships with professionals in aquaculture and animal feed.