Location: Aquatic Animal Health Research
Project Number: 6010-31320-001-00
Start Date: Nov 17, 2009
End Date: Nov 16, 2014
The U.S. aquaculture industry faces numerous challenges including high feed and energy costs, low-cost imports and lower fish prices paid to producers. Among these, feed cost represents the largest expenditure in aquaculture operations, and protein is the most expensive component in fish feeds. Lower cost alternative protein sources to replace fish meal and other expensive protein sources must be identified. Soybean meal (SBM), because of its low-cost, availability, consistent quality, and high nutritional value, is the most commonly used plant ingredient in fish feeds, comprising up to 45% grow-out diets. Distillers' dried grains with solubles (DDGS) is readily available and less expensive than SBM and other conventional protein sources on a protein-cost basis, but its use in fish feeds is very limited. Replacement of SBM or more costly ingredients by DDGS would reduce feed costs. This proposed project will investigate the nutritional value and nutrient bioavailability of DDGS derived from various grain sources, and corn DDGS from ethanol plants for channel catfish and tilapia, define the essential fatty acid (EFA) requirement, optimum ratio of n-3 to n-6 and their effect on gene and protein expression, identify biologically active compounds in DDGS which may improve fish growth and health, and develop least-cost feed and feeding strategies to improve nutrient retention, product quality and health. This project should lead to reduced feed costs, increased use of DDGS, and improved feeding practices which will lead to improved growth and survival and product quality, lower producton costs, as well as increased demand of DDGS.