← All Resources

Advancing Gilthead Seabream (Sparus aurata) Nutrition for Improved Stress Response and Product Quality with Zinpro® Availa® Selenium.

5 minute read

Pursuing a healthy growth and improved product quality are central goals for the seabream industry. Global emphasis on sustainability and animal welfare today is driving additional improvements across the board, from more responsibly sourced feed ingredients to improved production practices. 

Selenium (Se) is an essential trace mineral that plays a pivotal role in regulating antioxidant defenses both in fish and humans. Moreover, supplementation of fish feeds with organic Se has been shown to increase muscle Se content and enhance quality traits. 

However, stringent regulations for Se in aquaculture feeds have been enacted, with Europe setting a strict 0.2 ppm upper limit for organic Se supplementation. These regulations pose a substantial challenge for nutritionists, particularly in the context of reduced fishmeal diets, with increased usage ingredients with poor or limited Se content. This article explores the advantages of Zinpro® Availa® Selenium over other sources, shedding light on the benefits it can bring to the aquaculture industry.  

Oxidative Stress, a Permanent Threat to Fish Health and Wellbeing

Stress refers to the animal’s response to any physical, chemical, or environmental challenge, triggered by a variety of factors. Stress can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term), leading to different physiological and behavioral responses, that are natural and necessary for animals to adapt to and cope with environmental changes.  

Oxidative stress occurs at the cellular level and is caused by an imbalance between the reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and the body’s ability to neutralize or detoxify these molecules. ROS are highly reactive and can damage cellular components, including DNA, proteins and lipids. Several negative consequences can be observed due to oxidative stress: 

  • Growth and Performance: poor feed conversion and lower weight gain negatively impacting profitability.  
  • Susceptibility to Diseases: weakened immunity, higher vulnerability to parasites and pathogenic bacteria with increased mortality rates.  
  • Damage to Tissues and Organs: damage on cellular components with disruption of physiological functions, such as osmoregulation. 
  • Impaired Reproduction: poor egg and sperm quality, embryonic development, and reduced survival of larval stages. 
  • Negative Impact on Sustainability Indicators: Reduced animal welfare and increased feed footprint. 

Harnessing Selenium Nutrition to Boost Fish Strength

Selenium is a key element of important selenoproteins, such as glutathione peroxidase, that protect the body from oxidative stress. Se supports animal growth and resilience by improving key physiological functions: 

  • Antioxidant Defense: regulate enzymes that protect cells from oxidative damage. ROS neutralization to preserve cellular integrity. 
  • Thyroid Hormone Regulation: Se is involved in the activation of thyroid hormones, particularly on the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to the biologically active triiodothyronine (T3), making it important for metabolism regulation.  
  • Immune System Support: contributes to the proper functioning of immune cells, supporting a more robust response to combat infections and diseases.  
  • Reproductive Health: influences the quality of eggs and sperm, affecting embryonic development, and can impact larval survival. Adequate selenium levels are essential for successful reproduction and the production of healthy offspring. 
  • Detoxification and Protection: Se is involved in detoxifying harmful substances, protecting fish from the adverse effects of heavy metals and other environmental pollutants that can accumulate in aquatic ecosystems. 

Proven Benefits of Zinpro Availa Se in Seabream Nutrition

Recent research conducted by Monteiro et al (2023) at the Porto University, Portugal has evaluated the performance, product quality and stress resistance of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) supplemented with inorganic Se (selenite; Control), Zinpro Availa Selenium amino acid complex and another commercially available chelate product (Hydroxy Se-Met; Hydroxy Se). 

The study demonstrated superior Se muscle retention of Zinpro Availa Selenium compared to the other sources when supplemented at same levels (0.2 ppm in the diet) for 137 days (Figure1).

Figure 1. Se muscle content of gilthead seabream fed the experimental diets for 137 days. 

Fish supplemented with Zinpro Availa Selenium also demonstrated improved antioxidant ability with quicker physiological response to stress tests; indicated by an increased oxidative stress index and oxidized glutathione levels. Zinpro Availa Se improved Se body retention, enriching Se fillet content, with a positive footprint on reducing emissions in water (Figure 2).  

Figure 2. Benefits associated with Zinpro Availa Selenium to Improve Seabream Nutrition, Health, and Meat Quality 

Building Resilience Towards a More Efficient and Sustainable Seabream Production

Zinpro Availa Selenium advantages can help support practical strategies to overcome daily challenges experienced by seabream farms. Stress is a well-known enemy of feed efficiency and immune response. By bolstering fish trace mineral nutrition with selenium, zinc and iron, a positive impact on mitigating the risks of disease outbreaks and seasonal performance declines should be expected, elevating health, results and profitability.  

As we look to the future, it’s crucial for the seabream industry to seize growth opportunities offering high quality, fresh, safe, and healthy products to satisfy seafood consumers’ expectations. Leveraging enriched Se products can bring opportunity for added value differentiated products with more efficient, sustainable and environmentally responsible aquaculture footprint.  

Let’s Partner 

No matter your species, season, or production system, Zinpro® Performance Minerals® can support your business to deliver improved results. To learn more how you can include Zinpro Performance Minerals in your fish and shrimp diets, contact your Zinpro representative today.