A research team at University College Dublin (UCD) is exploring the potential of ‘sustainable’ pandemic prawn diets, with the aim of increasing the survival rates of the animals.
Prawns, which have become an increasingly popular and highly nutritious food, have been under scrutiny since a series of coronavirus outbreaks across the world in recent years.
The prawn research team has now published their results in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (JFS), which is published every six months by the British Journal of Nutrition.
They looked at the effect of different prawn diet varieties on various infectious disease and nutritional parameters such as the growth of the virus and on the growth and survival of infected prawn.
Protein, fat and carbohydrate were the key factors that had an impact on the animals’ health and their growth rate, while vitamins A, C, E, K and B were also analysed.
The researchers concluded that prawn food has the potential to be used as a potential food supplement, as well as as to be incorporated into the diet of livestock.
“It could be a supplement to the diet that could help in the control of disease in the cattle population, or as a supplement for people with different nutritional needs,” said Dr Alix De Laet, a senior lecturer in UCD’s Department of Environmental and Nutritional Sciences.
Dr De Lae explained that it is the first study to look at the effects of prawn-based diets on various diseases and nutritional biomarkers.
“In the past, it has been known that pungent foods are very nutritious.
But, it is not known whether they are nutritious in all situations,” she said.”
We are trying to understand if the nutrients we are looking at have any effects on disease, or whether they could be beneficial in certain circumstances.”
She added that it was important to understand the impact of these diets on disease transmission.
“This is a case study study of a diet that has a low incidence of disease, and we are trying our best to understand how it can help the animal,” she explained.
“A good diet could be helpful for the human population as well.”