A study funded by the Soy Aquaculture Alliance using metabolites as a biological marker for nutritional stress in red drum opens the door to a better understanding how soybean-formulated diets impact fish growth and feed conversion. The study, performed in collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, improved the metabolic fingerprint of red drum based on a closely studied comparison with the best two performing reference diets over a 12-week feed trial.
Feeding eight unique diets, liver, intestine, heart, muscle tissue and plasma samples were tested. Results found the metabolic marker in all diets and fish fed a 60% supplemented soybean meal diet had nearly the same growth, weight and feed conversion of fish fed natural reference (squid, shrimp and fish) diets. This research provides a path for assessing this biological marker and allowing nutritionists to develop feed alternatives within acceptable limits for various fish species without causing nutritional stress. Ultimately, the marker opens the door to further research for higher and better soybean meal inclusion rates to benefit both the U.S. aquaculture industry and the U.S. soybean farmer.
SAA funds programs and research that increases the utilization of U.S. soybeans in the diets of fish and shrimp through affiliations with academic and private researchers and industry. John Wray, Chairman of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance board of directors, said, \"we know soybean meal can be a tremendous alternative to fish meal, but we have to make sure we know just how to use it best.\"
\"Every study we do gives us more information and more credence to believe soybeans are a real opportunity for the U.S. soybean aquaculture industry,\" added Andy Tauer, SAA Executive Director. \"We\'ve been investing for a number of years and every study builds on the one before. We\'re making real headway now, and seeing the results that will benefit the fish farmer and the soybean farmer alike.\"
Read a technical brief of the study here.