09/2017, Current R&D projects

IRFFA – Improved rapeseed/canola seeds as fish feed in aquaculture – Plant breeding research

  • funding program: BMBF Förderinitiative „Pflanzenzüchtungsforschung für die Bioökonomie, Nationale Forschungsstrategie BioÖkonomie 2030“ (Projektträger Jülich)
  • term:  09/2017 – 08/2020
  • project partner:
    • Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
    • Universität Bielefeld
    • NPZ Innovation GmbH

Initial position

Aquaculture will become more important as a source of high-quality fish to ensure healthy global food production and as a key strategy to prevent over-fishing of the oceans. Accordingly, the feed must be of high quality for the needs of aquaculture and produced under environmentally friendly conditions. Rapeseed/canola has the potential to meet both conditions. However, to date, a more extensive use is particularly affected by the content of anti-nutritional substances (ANF) in rapeseed/canola and rapeseed/canola meal. Rapeseed/canola meal contains various such factors as fibers, glucosinolates and phytic acid, which significantly limit feed intake, nutrient utilization and fish health.


The present project aims to combine innovative classical breeding, biotechnological and technical approaches to minimize ANF levels in rapeseed -based products and to increase the nutritional value of fish. It is planned to investigate rapeseed protein as a domestic source of high quality protein in fish nutrition in order to substitute both protein of inferior nutritional quality or protein associated with ecological concerns. The proposed project will expand and detail the knowledge of key factors in rapeseed that are critical to broad use in fish nutrition. As a primary goal, mutant plant lines with reduced ANF profile are provided as a prototype for the breeding of new fish food-compatible rapeseed varieties. In addition, new processing protocols for the rapeseed protein harvesting are being developed aiming at the reduction of anti-nutritional substances.

The following specific objectives are to be achieved:

  • Detailed characterization of anti-nutritional substances in rapeseed products
  • Assessment of specific ANF in protein products for fish nutrition
  • Improved processing protocols to reduce fish-specific ANF in rape seed products while preserving high oil yields
  • Complete re-sequencing for the characterization of EMS mutated rapeseed lines (TILLING) and complete de novo sequencing of the basic genotype (“Express 617”)
  • Selection of key mutants in the biosynthesis of major anti-nutritional phytochemicals
  • Initiation of crossbreeding to create a second generation of improved rapeseed lines with an optimized combination of mutants and optimal genetic background.
  • New protein products for rapeseed-based fish nutrition


The project is currently in progress.

For questions, please contact

Dr. Ralf-Peter Tressel
E-mail: tressel@ppm-magdeburg.de


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