“We have done extensive studies with other fish species, including rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, sea bass and white shrimp. Our goal is to determine the nutritional value of ME-PRO in feed ratios for aquatic species that primarily use it as a sustainable protein source ”, Sergio Nates, executive vice president of US biotech company aquafeed, told this publication.
In this latest study, incorporating Prairie AquaTech ME-PRO into sea bass diets at levels of 5 and 8% of the total ration reduced feed costs without negatively impacting feed intake.
“The data and positive results of this study suggest the cost-effectiveness of ME-PRO at the percent inclusion levels assessed” wrote the researchers in an article published by The Global Aquaculture Advocate.
Soybeans without anti-nutrients
In the aquaculture industry, research is underway for plant alternatives to proteins of animal origin. However, to be commercially viable, any ingredient must support the health and growth of the fish while offering an attractive cost to use.
Prairie AquaTech claims to have developed a patented fermentation technology that creates MEP (Microbial Enhanced Protein) from non-GM soybean meal without the anti-nutritional factors of other alternative protein sources.
“Many of the negative effects associated with soybean meal can be reduced or eliminated using our proprietary fermentation technology. In addition, anti-nutritional factors can be reduced during our process ”, Nates explained.
In addition to having lower concentrations of many anti-nutritional factors, he said ME-PRO has high digestibility and saves costs compared to other ingredients commonly used in aquatic feeding ratios.
From an environmental perspective, Nate said that ME-PRO’s high phosphorus availability is an advantage because it reduces the amount of phosphorus released to water.
In this context, he stated that the aim of this study was to evaluate ME-PRO as a substitute for fishmeal in European seabass diets.
“To achieve this goal, the effects of feed intake of ME-PRO on the growth, feed utilization, digestibility and health of juvenile sea bass have been identified”, he said.
12 weeks in vivo The study was carried out at the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in Athens. Four diets (one control and three with varying percentages of ME-PRO) were given to juvenile bass. The control diet contained 20% fishmeal, while the other three diets contained 5% ME-PRO and 15% fishmeal, 8% ME-PRO and 12% fishmeal and 12% ME -PRO and 8% fishmeal.
The fish were weighed at the start, middle and end of the test. Mortality, FCR (feed conversion rate), SGR (specific growth rate) and SFR (specific feeding rate) were assessed. At the end of the growth test period, fish samples were taken to assess the health and general condition of the experimental fish. The digestibility of proteins, amino acids and nitrogen-free extracts was also evaluated, as well as possible immunological effects.
No statistically significant difference was observed for RMS, FCR and SFR between the regimens tested. However, a slight correlation between increased MEP levels and decreased performance was observed. Although there was no noticeable difference in performance at inclusion levels up to 8%, the diet containing 12% ME-PRO resulted in lower FCR and SGR.
In addition, there were no significant differences in total body composition between the different diets.
Better digestibility and immune health
In terms of health parameters, protein digestibility was significantly improved with increased levels of ME-PRO, and experimental diets resulted in better amino acid digestibility compared to fishmeal. The inclusion of ME-PRO also slightly improved the immune and hematologic status of the fish.
“Similar to previous studies in other aquatic species, the dietary concentrations of commercial MEP tested up to 5% improved the immunological status of experimental fish, which may better resist environmental or infectious stress. ” write the researchers.
Prairie AquaTech said it expects the results to be published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2022.
In the meantime, Nates said the company will continue to conduct scientific studies aimed at reducing the environmental impact of aquaculture production.
“Sustainability is a key issue for us. Prairie is committed to providing solutions to ensure food quality and safety by improving human health and the environment by thth process, ”he said.