Comparative, adaptiveandfunctional skeletal biology

Zebrafeeds project


Development of standard diets for zebrafish (Danio rerio), a model organism in biomedical research


Zebrafish is firmly established as an important and informative model system for studying vertebrate embryogenesis and organogenesis, as well as modeling a wide array of human diseases. In the overall, the ZEBRAFEEDS project targets the technological development of commercial innovative diets (products) that will promote the standardization of zebrafish use as a model organism in biomedical research. Namely, nutritionally balanced feeds for the various developmental stages of zebrafish (larvae, juveniles and broodstock). These new diets will improve the reproductive performance of broodstock fish and enhance the survival and growth of larvae and juveniles.

The project will also develop a zebrafish reference diet, formulated with purified and/or semi-purified ingredients to achieve a high constancy on its composition and nutritional value. This formulation will also be made compatible to the incorporation of microencapsulated bioactive compounds of interest to the pharmaceutical and biomedical sectors.

The project was structured in order to generate new information on the nutritional requirements of zebrafish, testing its efficacy under practical conditions and validate the concept of the reference diet for the screening and efficacy tests for bioactive compounds (eg calcitonin and different forms of vitamin K) for biomedical applications (in this case osteoporosis). The development of these new products and its association to the incorporation of microencapsulated bioactive compounds will also allow SPAROS to enlarge its current offer of contract research activities (services). At the end of the project, SPAROS intends to strengthen its position on the market as a provider of specialized products and services for the biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors using zebrafish as model research organism.

Reference/contract number



01/2012 - 12/2014


University of Algarve
M. Leonor Cancela leonor-cancela
Funding entity algarve-21QRENFEDER