Bioactive compounds are naturally occurring chemical components present in small amounts in plants and certain foods. Inclusion of bioactive compounds in diets can enhance their sensory properties or induce beneficial health effects beyond the products ́ basic nutritional value. It has been suggested that bioactive compounds can promote many different health benefits, including antioxidant activity, enzymatic activity, and increased immunity. As such, supplementation of aquafeeds with bioactive compounds is becoming increasingly common in the aquaculture industry.
Physiological stress is a primary contributing factor to fish disease and mortality in aquaculture. Under natural conditions fish often experience brief periods of stress, bringing about a temporary disturbance of homeostasis. In intensive fish culture conditions, disturbances such as high temperatures and smoltification are usually prolonged, with the accompanying chronic stress leading to a continued loss of homeostasis. This stress response can eventually result in decreased disease resistance and reduced growth. Given the health-promoting properties of bioactive compounds, inclusion of bioactive compounds in aquafeeds has the potential to mitigate the effects of stress by promoting increased resilience and immunity in cultured fish.
Further, as the increasing scarcity of fish meals and fish oils leads to replacement in aquafeeds with non-traditional sources, there is potential to improve the nutritional value of these ingredients through supplementation with bioactive compounds. As such, aquafeeds enhanced with bioactive compounds have the potential to improve animal health, growth rates and disease resistance.
The Product Makers (TPM), are an international flavour company specialising in natural bioactive additives in the food, beverage, and animal feed industries. TPM are globally recognised leaders in enhancing the flavour and nutritional value of foods through creative and innovative ingredients and additives. Most notably, TPM produce a range of bioactive products dubbed ‘Polygain’, which are naturally derived plant extracts rich in polyphenols, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins and minerals. Polygain products are extracted from sugar cane and used as a health-promoting additive in animal feeds, including aqua-feeds.
Following consultation with Deakin University, TPM expressed an interest in conducting a dose-response experiment to elucidate the effects of Polygain as a functional ingredient in juvenile Atlantic salmon diets during the freshwater phase, as well as across smoltification into the saltwater phase. This investigation is expected to support the commercialisation of this bioactive supplement as a functional, health-promoting additive in Atlantic salmon aqua-feeds both locally and globally.