Investigating the potential role of algal-derived astaxanthin for improved health and performance in AquAdvantage Salmon

The rapid expansion of the aquaculture industry has fueled significant advances in fish health and nutrition. One such innovation has been the development of the growth-enhanced Atlantic salmon, AquAdvantage Salmon (AAS), which was approved for commercial production and consumption in the US in 2015. AquAdvantage Salmon are raised exclusively in land-based operations using highly efficient recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) that depend on microbial communities to degrade waste and excess feed. Understanding the health and immunity of AAS is of utmost importance in order to maintain and increase fish performance and welfare. Research suggests that fish health and immunity are directly related to their microbial communities (i.e., microbiomes) comprising bacteria, archaea, yeasts, and viruses that inhabit the mucosa. The abundance and composition of these complex microbial communities are extremely variable and are affected by a range of biotic and abiotic factors. Despite this, the microbiome of AAS and the microbial communities within the RAS production environment is not understood, nor is the degree to which these microbiota influence each other, or how they are impacted by diet, environmental conditions, and pathogenic stressors.

Faculty Supervisor:

Mark Fast


Stacey Goldberg


AquaBounty Canada






University of Prince Edward Island



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