Skip to content

BARD 40 Year Review

Case Study 7: Full Life-Cycle Hatchery-Based Aquaculture

Principal Investigators: US: Robert Langer (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Martin P. Schreibman (Brooklyn College); IS: Yonatan Zohar (then Isr. Ocean Res., now at University of Maryland), Yitzhak Koch (Weizmann Institute of Science)

Goal: To establish tools to control fish reproductive processes and their timing in captivity, and to acquire high-quality gametes (i.e. eggs and sperm) and seeds (i.e. fertilized eggs and larvae) for grow-out to the marketable product.

Activities Investigation of GnRH regulation and receptor affinity and additional neuropeptides involved in sexual maturation, ovulation and spawning.
Optimization of sustained release delivery systems for GnRH analogs.
Development of techniques for early onset of puberty in fish.

Outcomes: The polymer-based GnRH delivery systems have provided the global aquaculture industry with a tool to induce fish to spawn in captivity, enabling the rapid development of fish farming that did not exist before. The technique is used in fish hatcheries around the world to induce spawning and egg/juvenile production in scores of fish species (salmon, sea bass and recently bluefin tuna). Full cycle farming in captivity both provides a protein source for the world population and also enhances conservation of overexploited marine species. The technique is an applied tool for gene rescue and population amplification of threatened and endangered species.

Economic Benefit: Net Present Value of BARD’s investment is $12,000 million, thereof $7,500 million already attained. The Internal Rate of Return is 143%. Benefit Cost Ratio is 5,800, thereof 3,600 already attained.

Capacity Building: 3 postgraduates were involved in the research. 1 currently holds an academic position in Greece.

Read the full case study.

Case Study 8: In-Ovo Feeding: Jumpstarting the Development of the Chick

Principal Investigators: US: Peter R. Ferket (North Carolina State University), Eric. A Wong (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University); IS: Zehava Uni (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Goal: To determine the effect of in-ovo feeding (feeding to the embryo) on growth performance and economically valuable production traits of broiler and turkey flocks.

Activities: The research demonstrated that supplementing the chick embryo amnion with carbohydrates and amino acids enhances neonatal development. The role of the yolk sac in the mediation and transport of nutrients to the embryo for optimal development was studied as were in-ovo feed ingredients (nutrients and probiotics) that upregulate the number of cells expressing nutrient transporters.

Outcomes: A new science of neonatal chick nutrition was established. More than 15 research groups in industry and academia now use the in-ovo feeding concept. Research groups around the world have continued to study feed and stimulant injection of nutrients and biologics (immunostimulants, antibodies, live beneficial bacteria, prebiotics) and have shown many positive outcomes such as faster growth and higher final weights, enhanced expression of nutrient transporters, support of bone development, advanced intestine development and digestive capacity and improved chick health. 

Economic Benefit: The method has not yet been commercialized by the poultry industry and we have not included an economic benefit analysis.
Some barriers to adoption are now being overcome and we anticipate a high probability of commercial implementation.

Capacity Building: At least 5 postgraduates were involved in the research. Currently, 1 is in academia in the US, another 1 holds a research position in the USDA-ARS working on human nutrition for at-risk populations, and 3 work in Agri/Biotech industries in Israel.

Read the full case study.