Researchers

Pallab Kumer Sarker
  • Title
    • Associate Research Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Environmental Studies Department
  • Phone
    831-459-2860
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Nat Sci 2 Main Building, 423 Natural Sciences 2
  • Mail Stop Environmental Studies
  • Mailing Address
    • 423 Natural Sciences 2
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064

Summary of Expertise

Sustainable aquaculture and nutrition/ Improve sustainability of aquaculture feeds/ Formulation of low-pollution feeds/ Fish and shellfish nutritional requirements/ Digestibility of feed ingredients/ Dietary nutrient interaction in fish and effects on physiology and gene expression/ Strategies to prevent off-flavors in fish.

Research Interests

 

My research interests involve shifting aquaculture, the world’s fastest growing food sector, to sustainability by redesigning the composition of aqua-feeds because they drive life-cycle environmental effects of aquaculture, both inputs and emissions. I also am interested in developing ecological aquaculture principles and practices. The focus of my current research is to develop a fish-free and crop-free aquaculture diet by combining different species of microalgae and developing targeted biochemical manipulations to maximize the diet’s nutrient quality, economic viability, and benefits for environmental conservation. Specifically, my major areas of current research are:

 

 

·       Improve environmental sustainability of aquafeeds while assuring human health benefits of fish raised on micro- and macro-algae diets

 

·       Formulation of environmentally friendly low-pollution (phosphorus and nitrogen loading) feeds

 

·       Evaluation/digestibility/palatability of feed ingredients (marine and freshwater microalgae, microalgae co-products, and terrestrial plant sources)

 

·       Biochemical manipulation of feed ingredients to make environmentally sustainable and economically viable aquaculture feed

 

·       Improvement, standardization, and documentation of methods in fish nutrition applied to advance environmentally sustainable aquaculture.

 

 

 

Biography, Education and Training

 

Pallab Sarker is a sustainable aquaculture scientist and his research interests involve shifting aquaculture, the world’s fastest growing food sector, to sustainability by redesigning the composition of aqua-feeds because they drive life-cycle environmental effects of aquaculture, both inputs and emissions (pollution). Shifting aquafeeds to more sustainable ingredients is a key part of sustainable aquaculture. He is interested in developing ecological aquaculture principles and practices. The main focus of his current research is to develop a fish-free and crop-free aquaculture diet by combining different species of micro- and macro-algae and developing targeted biochemical manipulations to maximize the diet’s nutrient quality, economic viability, and benefits for environmental conservation. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food industry in the world, now producing more edible biomass than wild seafood for humans, making it a fundamental part of future food production. Although aquaculture contributes significantly to the animal protein consumption on a global scale, it raises important questions in the realm of sustainability science. Aquaculture is increasingly dependent on terrestrial crops (soy, corn) and wild fish (fishmeal and fish oil extracted from small ocean fish or “forage fish,” such as anchovy) for feeds—deeply unsustainable—and damaging to aquatic ecosystems. Aquafeeds now use over 70% of the world’s fishmeal and fish oil from unsustainably-sourced forage fish. Large-scale diversion and overfishing pose several environmentally unsustainable consequences. Aquafeeds also contain large amounts of soy and corn ingredients obtained from industrial farms that cause significant environmental damage, especially eutrophication of rivers, lakes and coastal waters; have deficiencies in key essential amino acids; and, for their oils, lack health-promoting long-chain Omega-3s EPA and DHA. Moreover, fish cannot fully digest phosphorus content of fishmeal, soy, and corn, and this elevates nutrient pollution in aquaculture effluents.  Dr. Sarker is on the cutting edge of research on the issue as one of very few scientists in his field dedicated to innovating a sustainable aquafeed that address both the problems of sourcing and waste streams. His ongoing projects examine the in vivo and in vitro digestibility of different marine algae/co-products and their incorporation in tilapia and salmonids feed formulae to eliminate the use of industrial crops and forage fish in aquafeed to foster environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially responsible aquaculture while assuring human health benefits of fish raised on these diets. Marine algae are excellent sources of essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that meet the requirements of fish. He is the member of the editorial board of the Journal of Aquaculture & Marine Biology and EC Nutrition. He is a member of the manuscript review committee of 7 peer-reviewed journals.

 

Areas of expertise:

 

Sustainable aquaculture and nutrition/ Improve sustainability of aquaculture feeds/ Formulation of low-pollution feeds/ Fish and shellfish nutritional requirements/ Digestibility of feed ingredients/ Dietary nutrient interaction in fish and effects on physiology and gene expression/ Strategies to prevent off-flavors in fish. 

Education: 

B.Sc. Bangladesh Agricultural University

M.S. Bangladesh Agricultural University

M.Sc. Kochi University, Japan

Ph.D. United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Japan

 


 

 

 

 

 

Honors, Awards and Grants

 

FELLOWSHIPS/AWARDS

 

Post-doctoral research at Laval University with Prof. Grant W. Vandenberg, funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (June 2009-June 2012).

 

 

Post-doctoral research at Laval University with Prof. Grant W. Vandenberg, funded by Network in Aquaculture Quebec (Réseau Aquaculture Québec), Canada (2008-2009).

 

 

Scholarship (Monbukagakusho) from Government of Japan, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for Ph.D. study at United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Ehime University (affiliated at Kochi University, 2004-2007).

 

 

Scholarship (Monbukagakusho) from Government of Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for M.S. study at Kochi University (2002-2004).

 

 

Fellowship from Government of Bangladesh for B.Sc. Fisheries (Hons.) and M. S. in Fisheries Technology (July 1992-December 1998).

 

 

PATENT

 

Kapuscinski, A.R and Sarker, P.K., 2018. Aquaculture Feed Formulation and Aquaculture Product Produced with the Same. US patent publication number: US2018/0303129 A1.

 

ACTIVE AND RECENT GRANT FUNDING

 

Pallab Sarker (lead PI) and Anne Kapuscinski. 2019. Converting under-utilized microalgal co-product into value-added ingredient for cost-viable, fish-free aquafeed for rainbow trout. 2020, CA Sea Grant, $120,000 with cost share. NOAA California Sea Grant website published for the 2020 California Sea Grant Aquaculture research project: Fish-free feed for farm-raised rainbow trout.

 

 

Anne Kapuscinski (PI), Pallab Sarker (co-PI), Elliott Campbell (co-PI), Brandi McKuin (post-doc) Aquaculture 2019/T1: Economic and environmental sustainability decision-support tool for fish-free aquafeed.  NOAA Sea Grant, $244,000.    

 

 

Sarker, P.K. (lead PI) and A.R. Kapuscinski (co-PI). Development of Cost-Viable and Fishmeal- and Fish Oil-Free Feeds Feeds for Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) Using Microalgal Cells and Co-Products. USDA-NIFA: Animal Health and Production and Animal Products. The proposal is awarded for $500,000, from January 1, 2016 to June 14, 2018.

 

 

Sarker, P.K., jointly with Grant W. Vandenberg. Review project on Relative efficiency of feeding salmonids: Sustainability issues related to feeding salmonids: a Canadian perspective)-funded by Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) and Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA), Canada (March-September, 2011, CAD 20,000)

 

 

Sarker, P.K. Monbukagakusho, Japanese Government fund for M.Sc. and doctoral, 7.9 million yen (US$ 100,000). 2002-2007.

 

 

Sarker, P.K., jointly with M.J. Alam.  Development of artificial diet from locally available ingredients for shrimp, Penaeus monodon. World Bank Project through Ministry of Fisheries and livestocks, Bangladesh. (2002-2003, BDT 100,000 (US$ 1,365)

 

 

GRANT PROPOSALS SUBMITTED

 

Pallab Sarker (PI), Anne Kapuscinski (Co-PI), and Luke Gardner (Co-PI). Recycling microalgal co-product to reduce eutrophication emissions from trout aquaculture. USDA-NIFA AFRI Program, Program Area Priority: Inter-Disciplinary Engagement in Animal Systems. May 2020.

 

Pallab Sarker (PI), Anne Kapuscinski (Co-PI). From under-utilized microalgal co-product to prime aquafeed ingredient: foundation for cost-viable and fish-free feed for aquaculture. Submitted March 2020, USDA-NIFA.

 

 

Pallab Sarker and Anne Kapuscinski. 2019. Converting under-utilized microalgal co-product into value-added ingredient for cost-viable, fish-free aquafeed for rainbow trout. Submitted July, 2019, UC/Sea Grant (successful above).

 

 

Pallab Sarker (PI) and Anne Kapuscinski (Co-PI). From under-utilized microalgal co-product to prime aquafeed ingredient: foundation for cost-viable and fish-free feed for aquaculture. Submitted July 2019, USDA-NIFA. Not funded but submitted gain in July 2020 above.

 

Sarker, P.K. Invention of a fish-free and crop-free aquaculture diet by combining different species of micro- and macro-algae and developing targeted biochemical manipulations to maximize the diet’s nutrient quality and benefits for environmental conservation. Dartmouth selected me as one of the two nominees for The Moore Inventor Fellows. Proposal submitted on March 5, 2018. Award amount: $675,000 for 3 years, starting from 01/01/19. 

 

 

Sarker, P.K. (lead PI) and A.R. Kapuscinski (co-PI). Cost-competitive, fish-free and crop-free feeds for Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) using microalgae. Pre-Proposal submitted to Foundation for Food Agriculture on April 18, 2018. Total Proposed Budget: 1,000,000 for 3 years, starting from 02/01/19.

 

 

Sarker, P.K. (lead PI) and A.R. Kapuscinski (co-PI). Towards Sustainable Fish-free Aquafeed: Enhancing Performance of Microalgal Co-product in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) Diets. USDA NIFA. Amount requested: $500,000. Proposed duration: 24 months, starting 01/01/18. Declined and positive comments will lead to resubmission.

 

 

Kapuscinski A.R., and Sarker, P.K. et al. NSF-INFEWS/T3: Upcycling brewery wastes to produce microalgae for aquaculture feeds: improving wastewater treatment, increasing energy savings, and reducing pressure on fisheries. Amount requested: $2,318,517. Proposed duration 36 months, starting from 01/01/18. Declined and positive comments will lead to resubmission

 

 

Sarker, P.K. (lead PI) and A.R. Kapuscinski (co-PI). Development of Cost-Viable and Fishmeal- and Fish Oil-Free Feeds for Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) Using Effluent-Raised Microalgae (USDA, program area: Animal Health and Production and Animal Products). Submitted May 01, 2014, $500,000. Declined and positive comments led to resubmission and award as mentioned above.

 

 

Kapuscinski, A.R. (lead PI) and P.K. Sarker (co-PI). Life-cycle environmental benefits and impacts of the use of effluent-fertilized microalgae in fish feed in recirculating aquaculture systems. (USDA, program area: Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment). Submitted on June 01, 2014, $500,000). Declined (plan to revise and resubmit in 2016).

 

 

Sarker, P.K. jointly with Grant W. Vandenberg, Laval University, Canada. Bio Cage: A novel nutritional approach for biological containment of farmed fish (NSERC strategic project, Canada, April 2011, CAD 467,000; 2nd phase with salmonids).

 

Selected Publications

 

Sarker P.K., Kapuscinski, A.R., McKuin B, Fitzgerald, D.S., Nash H., Greenwood, C. (2020). Towards sustainable aquaculture: microalgae-blend tilapia feed eliminates fishmeal and fish oil, improves growth, and is cost viable. Scientific Reports: in revision (R1).

 

Sarker P.K., Kapuscinski, A.R. Vandenberg G.W., Proulx E., Sitek A.J. (2020). Towards sustainable and ocean-friendly aquafeeds: Evaluating a fish-free feed for rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) using three marine microalgae species. Elementa Science of the Anthropocene, 8: 5. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.404

 

 

Sarker, P.K., Kapuscinski, A.R., Bae, A.Y., Donaldson, E., Sitek, A.J., Edelson, O.F., Fitzgerald, D.F., 2018. Towards sustainable aquafeeds: Evaluating substitution of fishmeal with lipid-extracted microalgal co-product (Nannochloropsis oculata) in diets of juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). PLoS ONE 13(7): e0201315. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201315.

 

 

Shah, M.R., Lutzu, G.A., Asraful, A., Sarker P., Chowdhury, M.A.K., Parsaeimehr, A., Liang, Y., Daroch, M., 2017.  Microalgae in aquafeeds for a sustainable aquaculture industry. Journal of Applied Phycology. DOI 10.1007/s10811-017-1234-z, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10811-017-1234-z

 

Sarker, P.K., A.R. Kapuscinski, A. Lanois, E. Livesey, and K. Bernhard, M. Coley. 2016. Towards sustainable aquafeeds: complete substitution of fish oil with marine microalga Schizochytrium sp. improves growth and fatty acid deposition in juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). PLOS ONE, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156684.

 

Sarker, P. K., M. M. Gamble, S. Kelson, and A. R. Kapuscinski. 2015. Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) show high digestibility of lipid and fatty acids from marine Schizochytrium sp. and of protein and essential amino acids from freshwater Spirulina sp. feed ingredients. Aquaculture Nutrition (doi: 10.1111/anu.12230).

 

Sarker, P.K., Pilote, A., Auffret, A., Proulx, E., Villemur, R., Vandenberg, G., 2014. Reducing geosmin-associated off-flavor compounds and metabolic phosphorus waste outputs through dietary phosphorus management in rainbow trout raised in recirculating aquaculture systems. Aquaculture and Environment Interaction, 6: 105–117.

 

Sarker, P.K., Bureau, D.P., Drew, M., Hua, K., Forster, I., Were, K., Hicks, B., Vandenberg, G.W., 2013. Sustainability issues related to feeding salmonids: a Canadian perspective. Reviews in Aquaculture, 5: 1-21.

 

Sarker, P.K., Yossa, R., Karanth, S., Ekker, M., and Vandenberg, G.W., 2012. Influences of dietary biotin and avidin on growth, survival, deficiency syndrome and hepatic gene expression of juvenile Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, 38 (4): 1183-1193.

 

Sarker, P.K., Fournier, J., Boucher, E., Proulx, E., Noüe de al J., Vandenberg, G.W., 2011. Effects of low phosphorus ingredient combinations on weight gain, apparent digestibility coefficients, non-fecal phosphorus excretion, phosphorus retention and loading of large rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Animal Feed Science and Technology, 168: 241-249.

 

 

 

Teaching Interests

 

ENVS 135 Sustainable Aquaculture (Lecturer), Winter 2020 (upper division, credit 5, students 29), UCSC.

 

ENVS 25 Ecological Agriculture (Lecturer) - (undergraduate course; 37 students), Dartmouth.