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Application of Bile Acids to Improve Larval Fish Production


Project Summary

The North Central Regional aquaculture industry faces challenges due to an inadequate supply of quality fingerlings caused by low larval survival rates. Dependence on imported larval feed and live feed raises concerns about the security and safety of fingerling production. Therefore, developing domestic larval feed is crucial for the industry's sustainability. This project aims to enhance larval feed nutrition by incorporating locally generated bile acids, focusing on improving production capacity for yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and walleye (Sander vitreus). To achieve this goal, a series of test diets supplemented with bile acids (ranging from 0 to 800 mg/kg diet) will be developed and fed to perch and walleye larvae during the initial 35 days post-hatch. The optimal level of bile acid supplementation will be determined based on survival, growth, nutrition, fish health, and metabolism analyzed through metabolomic techniques. Applied research will be conducted at commercial farms to validate the laboratory findings and provide training to farmers. The findings will be disseminated through various outreach activities, including training workshops, and publishing papers or articles in professional journals and community websites/magazines. These efforts will benefit the yellow perch and walleye aquaculture sector by ensuring a reliable supply of high-quality fingerlings. 


  1. Evaluating the composition of bile acids derived from pork processing by-products and developing feed formulations for feeding trials.
  2. Determining the optimal supplementation level of bile acids in larval feed for yellow perch and walleye based on factors such as growth, survival, and fish health.
  3. Investigating the mechanisms through which bile acids enhance nutrient absorption and metabolism in larval fish by conducting metabolomic analysis.
  4. Conducting extension research to validate the laboratory findings at commercial farms.

Duration:  2 years (January 1, 2024-December 31, 2025)


PI:  Dong-Fang Deng-University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Co-PI:  Chi Chen-University of Minnesota

Co-PI:  Tyler Firkus-University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Project Outline


Award Amount


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