Contamination of fish feeds with naturally occurring mycotoxins is an issue of growing concern in the aquaculture industry due to increasing inclusion of ingredients of plant origin in commercial fish feeds. Novel findings from my M.Sc. work indicated that rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are extremely sensitive to the feed-borne Fusarium mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON).
Currently, my PhD research is focused on better understanding the basis of this sensitivity through various efforts, namely: (1) evaluation of the efficacy of a commercial feed additive against the adverse effects of DON on the performance of rainbow trout; (2) characterization of histopathological changes of organs and tissues associated with feed-borne exposure to DON in rainbow trout; and (3) comparative investigation of the detoxification mechanism(s) of DON in rainbow trout and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and the potential use of nutritional mitigation strategies in these species.
In addition to my studies, I am actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the ever-dynamic Fish Nutrition Research Laboratory including maintenance and repair of equipment, development of guidelines and standard operating procedures for various tasks and analyses and training of new graduate students and undergraduate volunteers.