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Soybean meal substitute for fishmeal in hybrid striped bass feed

Yathish Ramena, a doctoral candidate of aquaculture/fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, recently completed a study to examine non-genetically modified soybean meal as a substitute for fish meal in the diets of hybrid striped bass. The resulting fish had higher immune capabilities for survival in unfavourable conditions.

November 11, 2015

Yathish Ramena, a doctoral candidate of aquaculture/fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, recently completed a study that examined non-genetically modified (GMO) soybean meal as a healthy and cost-effective substitute for fish meal in the diets of hybrid striped bass.

He is also a visiting scientist at the USDA/Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center.

“The production of hybrid striped bass is an expanding aquaculture industry across the nation. As carnivorous fish, striped bass require a higher amount of protein in their diet but the price of fish meal has drastically increased in the last 20 years, from $450 to $2,300 per metric ton,” he said.

Soybean meal is considered to be the best alternative to fish meal as it has a dense protein profile, and most of the soybeans produced in the US are genetically altered for higher production and disease resistance.

“In some fish, conventional soy products have been shown to cause adverse effects on growth and health performance such as lower digestibility and nutrient absorption rates. These are linked to anti-nutritional factors (ANFs) in the processed soybean meal,” said Ramena.

The study looked at whether the use of traditionally bred soybeans reduces the negative impacts on hybrid striped bass. He used non-GMO soy varieties produced by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, which were specifically bred to contain fewer ANFs. GMO soybeans can also be produced to contain fewer ANFs, but negative perceptions of GMO-based feeds have stimulated more research on conventionally bred soybean varieties for use in the diets of farmed animals.

Digestibility trials indicated that hybrid striped bass fed with non-GMO soybean meal had a significantly higher rate of protein absorption than fish fed other meals. In the growth trial, Ramena replaced 100 percent fish meal with 100 percent non-GMO soybean meal.

The results were positive, with the fish proving to be healthy, and with higher immune capabilities for survival in unfavourable conditions.

Source: Will Hehemann, The Pine Bluff Commercial.

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