The concept of using vegetable proteins without jeopardizing growth performance was presented to about 45 aquaculture farmers and feed producers attending a seminar organized recently by the American Soybean Association.
"Many farmers are grinding freshly harvested fish (wet trash-fish meal) as the major protein source in their aqua feeds," explained Kim Rameker, director of the U.S. Grains Council's Southeast Asia office in Kuala Lumpur. "At U.S.$230 per metric ton with 70% moisture, this is an expensive and inefficient form of protein since only 60% of the fish caught for wet trash-fish meal can be used."
Combining corn gluten meal and soybean meal can easily replace fishmeal in diet formulations, based on trials showing that 9% corn gluten meal and 35% to 45% soybean meal could be used in a typical formula to completely replace fish meal at a 50% savings, Rameker said.
However, the study did not address the potential for discoloration of meat due to xanthophylls in the corn gluten meal. This is where the U.S. Grains Council is about to get its hands wet in the aquaculture industry.
"We are laying the ground work to conduct trials to determine how much corn gluten meal can be added to formulations and establish a tolerance/maximum inclusion level of corn gluten meal while making it a cost-savings effort," Rameker said.
In addition to conducting the formulation trial, the Council intends to establish an in-depth database on corn gluten meal and/or maize in aquafeed formulations.