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Biomin Mycotoxin Aquaculture Challenge awards announced

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Several students in the MSc Sustainable Aquaculture program in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth in the UK participated in Biomin Mycotoxin Aquaculture Challenge, submitting articles and short online presentations on how to address the topic of mycotoxin contamination of aquafeed materials.  

A growing concern in aquaculture

“The drive to make aquaculture more sustainable translates into the use of more plant-derived feed ingredients and more non-antibiotic solutions to support animal health,” said Benedict Standen, product manager at BIOMIN. “There’s growing awareness that mycotoxins can be an obstacle for fish and shrimp producers on both counts.” 

Fungi-produced mycotoxins are naturally found in crops used in aquafeeds, and more crop-derived materials are added to diets as fishmeal or fish oil inclusion rates decline, leading to higher mycotoxin contamination levels. “The harmful effects of mycotoxins on aquatic farmed species include decreased growth performance, higher incidence/severity of diseases and poorer final product quality, all of which make aquaculture less profitable and less sustainable,” observed Lorran Gabardo DVM, product manager at BIOMIN. 

“It is important to raise awareness on this topic and highlight proved scientific solutions to improve the health and growth of aquatic species, which ultimately results in higher industry profitability, less use of antimicrobials or chemical treatments and more sustainable food production,” said Standen. 

Fostering dialogue and online presence 

BIOMIN is committed to research and scientific innovation in the field of animal nutrition and specialty solutions for both terrestrial and aquatic species. The firm has supported a similar initiative in the past, awarding Aquaculture Sustainability Scholarships to University of Plymouth students in 2020.  The company provided students with reference materials, including the recently published book Mycotoxins in Aquaculture, a lecture and discussion on the negative impact of mycotoxins on aquaculture production. 

BIOMIN reinforced its presence even during times of social distancing by adding to this year’s online presentations and discussions between the participating students and a jury panel of aquaculture industry experts, including Daniel Merrifield, Benedict Standen, Pedro Encarnação and Gustavo Bozano. 

2021 Mycotoxin Aquaculture Challenge Award winners were Louis Cattini, Ryan Marchington, Finley Forwood and Maxine Canvin.

Daniel Merrifield, Associate Professor of Fish Health and Nutrition at the University of Plymouth’s School of Biological and Marine Sciences said that “support from pioneering companies such as BIOMIN allows us to deliver research and innovation-driven educational offerings, allowing our MSc Sustainable Aquaculture students to advance both their technical and scientific knowledge. Furthermore, the Mycotoxin Aquaculture Challenge has provided timely financial support to students at the beginning of their careers, and has enabled them to publish their work in key industry journals.”

 

Photo caption: The Mycotoxin Aquaculture Challenge Award online ceremony took place in early February 2021 to recognize two winning teams. Pictured from upper left to lower right: Prof. Daniel Merrifield, Lorran Gabardo, Louis Cattini, Ryan Marchington, Dr. Benedict Standen, Finley Forwood and Maxine Canvin. Photo credits: BIOMIN and ERBER Group.

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