Improving productivity, efficiency in Asian sea bass aquaculture

A new study shows that dietary additive potassium diformate improves growth and survival.
March 17, 2016

With the vast majority of aquaculture production taking place in Asia, farmers there are keen to find opportunities to economize their production. However, high stocking densities and sub-optimal water quality may impair fish health and growth performance. In the past, antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) were often used to help overcome these limitations but the current focus is on fish produced in sustainably managed sites, with no antibiotics. Alternatives to AGP are now being sought worldwide in a variety of forms.

Global production of Asian seabass in 2013 in over ten countries in Asia and Australia/Oceania, as well as the USA, reached almost 70,000 MT. The main producers were Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.

Most seabass aquaculture is now carried out with formulated diets. In intensive aquaculture production, bacterial diseases are a major cause of economic loss to producers. Feeding antibiotic-medicated aquafeeds is still common practice in some countries to treat these. In some areas, the prophylactic use of antibiotics in aquaculture production has also been widespread.

Organic acids and their salts are seen as an alternative to using antibiotics as growth promoters and potassium diformate (KDF) is one such alternative. Dietary KDF has been tested in several aquaculture species from tropical and temperate regions since 2005.

The most recent study undertaken by Lückstädt and Kühlmann examined the effects of 0.5 percent KDF in commercial sea bass feeds under research conditions in Thailand in a randomized trial.

Sea bass in the control group reached a mean final body weight of 54.5±7.5 g, while the fish fed with potassium diformate reached an average weight of 62.7±2.8 g. Survival rate and fish productivity index also improved significantly (P<0.05).

Including KDF in diets for juvenile Asian sea bass can help improve growth, survival and therefore overall production of this species, making it an interesting option for improved and sustainable Asian sea bass production.

Authors: Dr Christian Lückstädt and Dr Kai-Jens Kühlmann.

Read the full article in Global Aquaculture Alliance Advocate here.