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Mixed feed nut meal – natural and sustainable plant based protein for aquaculture By John Bowman, General Manager, Adaptive Bio-Resources

Aquaculture feed formulations have undergone significant change in recent years as researchers sought plant based alternatives to supplement fish meal and fish oil. The staff at Adaptive Bio-Resources, LLC has worked with esteemed aquaculture nutrition researchers for over 10 years to identify viable alternative protein sources, and recently collaborated with Dr. Frederic Barrows and his team at the USDA ARS Fish Technology Center in Bozeman, Montana, in researching several potential sources of plant based proteins. The key criteria used to determine the commercial potential of a newly developed feed ingredient include: •

Nutrient profile

Fish performance (growth and health)


Economics (1)

Most of the plant based feeds had significant challenges to overcome, including vastly different nutrient and anti-nutrient profiles from fish meal, high cost, limited availability, poor performance, and/or lack of sustainability. Dietary inclusion levels were often limited due to the presence of antinutrients or an imbalanced nutrient profile that resulted in reduced feed performance (growth and health). The collaborative research project culminated with the identification, testing, development of an exciting new source of protein, Mixed Feed Nut Meal, an all natural material that has a nutrient profile similar to fishmeal with no discernible anti-nutrients. The study found Mixed Feed Nut Meal produced comparable feed performance (growth and health), at virtually the same cost as fishmeal. The following summarizes the technical results of the research and testing against the key criteria. The Nutrient Profile of nut meal typically includes 50-55% protein, 8-11% lipids, and little fiber or ash. The specific nutrient profiles for materials tested in

the study are shown in Table 1. Amino acid profiles showed similarities in the ingredients, making nut meal a strong candidate for further testing. Several different forms of almond and pistachio nut material were tested in a series of trials to discern the feed performance versus alternative diets. Other nut meals such as walnut were evaluated but did not perform as well and were discarded from consideration. The Performance of the diets was tested over the life stages of rainbow trout from fry to juvenile. The first trial was a six week fry screening study, with nut meals, spirulina, Algae, and mussel meal tested against the baseline fishmeal diet. The positive performance results from this initial trial suggested that Nut Meal (pistachio and/or almond) is palatable, digestible and does not contain detrimental anti-nutrients (Table 2). The trout fed a diet containing the nut meals had survival and growth that was similar to trout fed a diet with 55% fish meal. Both pistachio and almond meals had strong apparent digestibility coefficients for crude protein, lipid, and amino acids.

Aquafeed vol 9 issue 2 2017  

Aquafeed magazine is focused on advances in feed formulation and processing for aquatic species. It is the quarterly magazine of

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