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Nucleotides in Fish Nutrition: The best strategy to enhance immunity and intestinal health By Oriol RoigĂŠ (Bioiberica), Barcelona, Spain

Nucleotides and aquaculture: a review The aquaculture feed industry, as well as other animal feed industries, is constantly screening the market and the latest research looking for new ingredients that can give an added value to their formulations in terms of quality and functionality, having a direct impact on the production parameters and performance of the animals. In such a growing industry that is aquaculture, where fish is being cultured more and more intensively and production of new species is being researched, the addition of new functional ingredients to the diet plays a very important role and will become even more important in the future.

One of these new ingredients are nucleotides. Nucleotides are low-molecular-weight intracellular compounds that play key roles in literally every biochemical and cellular process of all living beings. This is because nucleotides are the building key parts of DNA, the molecule of life that contains all the information about everything that happens and defines the living being. Dietary nucleotides have been researched and studied in animal and fish nutrition for some years, although in a small extent. They are formed by three different units: a pentose (sugar), a nitrogenous base and a phosphate group. The pentose is either a ribose or a deoxyribose (forming RNA and DNA respectively), the nitrogenous base can be a purine or a pyrimidine depending on the molecular structure, and the phosphate group can contain from one to three phosphates. Nucleotides can be acquired by the animals from two different sources: an endogenous route through de novo synthesis, and

an exogenous route through diet. Because nucleotides can be synthetized by living organisms, they are not considered essential nutrients. However, in specific life periods with stress, diseases, fast growth or limited nutritional support, nucleotide de novo synthesis can be limited and might not cover the needs of the animal. This is because endogenous production of nucleotides is a highly energy-demanding process for the body, and during these periods energy can be limited. For this reason, nucleotides are considered semiessential nutrients, because their supplementation through the diet is very important during some specific and crucial stages of the development of the animals, such is early stages of life, vaccination, disease...

Nucleotides, as building blocks of DNA, are involved mainly in processes where cell replication is important and necessary. Cell replication is related to global growth and tissue development and reparation. For this reason, nucleotides are very useful in early stages of life, where the animals are growing quickly and tissues need to replicate fast. More specifically, some key systems benefit directly from this property of nucleotides: the immune system and the digestive system. Both systems are of huge importance for animal production in aquaculture: the immune system protects the body from diseases and is responsible for survival and healthy development, while the digestive system is responsible of the correct development and health of the intestines, absorption of nutrients and overall growth and production. Thus, the more developed these systems are, the better their survival, performance and productivity will be.

Aquafeed vol 9 issue 2 2017  

Aquafeed magazine is focused on advances in feed formulation and processing for aquatic species. It is the quarterly magazine of Aquafeed.co...

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