Investigations into the dietary protein requirements of juvenile spotted grunter, Pomadasys commersonnii (Haemulidae : Pisces)

by Irish, A.

Abstract (Summary)
The proximate composition of juvenile spotted grunter, Pomadasys commersonnii and their major prey items were analyzed to test the hypothesis that the dietary protein requirements would approximate the composition of the natural diet. The amino acid profile of juvenile P. commersonnii was analyzed to establish the pattern of limiting amino acids for this species. Juvenile P. commersonnii feed primarily on the mysid, Mesopodopsis slabberi, which has a protein content of 58.27±0.04% and a calorific value of 19.2kJ/g. The first-limiting essential amino acid for this fish was found to be lysine and it was predicted that the optimal dietary protein requirement would be between 50 and 60%.

The optimal dietary protein inclusion level was investigated by feeding semi-purified diets containing graded levels of protein, ranging from 37-62%. Maximum growth was found to occur at dietary protein levels ranging from 40-51%. The best food conversion ratio was achieved at 56% dietary protein and the best protein efficiency ratio was obtained at a dietary protein inclusion level of 37-40%. The protein to energy ratio was defined by feeding 3 different protein levels at 3 different P:E levels. These semi-purified diets contained 35, 45 or 55% protein and 6, 8 or 12% dietary lipid, resulting in protein to energy ratios ranging from 21.1 to 42.3mg/kJ. The optimal P:E ratio for this species was found to be 26.7mg/kJ. This diet effected a low food conversion ratio (1.72±0.19), a low hepatosomatic index (4.01±0.23) and a high specific growth rate (5.96±0.36). The essential amino acid requirements of juvenile P. commersonnii were investigated. Semi-purified diets were formulated to contain graded levels of crystalline lysine based on the amino acid profile of the whole body and fed to the fish for a period of 60 days. Fish fed the "ideal protein" diet had significantly higher (p<0.05) specific growth rates (2.95±0.18), protein efficiency ratios (0.41±0.05) and significantly lower (p<0.05) food conversion ratios (3.02±0.29). Lysine levels in the whole body increased with increasing levels of supplemented lysine. The dietary requirement of lysine was found to be 4.30% of dietary protein. The crude protein digestibility of six protein sources was investigated. Diets were prepared with 1% chromic oxide as an internal marker. The tested protein sources included low temperature Danish fishmeal, steam dried Chilean fishmeal, blood meal, carcass meal, defatted soyabean meal and Spirulina meal. These potential fishmeal substitutes were selected due to their favourable amino acid profiles, and in particular their high levels of lysine, and their high protein content. Both the animal and the plant protein sources were highly digestible. Digestibility co-efficients ranged from 66.09% for Spirulina meal to 73.38% for low temperature Danish fishmeal. The results have shown that juvenile spotted grunter require a minimum of 40% crude protein in their diet, a P:E ratio of 26.7mg/kJ and a lysine concentration of 4.30% of the dietary protein. Long term growth trials are needed to confirm these results. The hypothesis that the proximate composition of the natural diet, and the proximate composition of the animal under investigation, provides a reliable indication of the animals' nutritional requirements was shown to be valid. Differences between the predicted, and the empirically determined optimal protein and protein:energy ratios were slight.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Rhodes University

School Location:South Africa

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:ichthyology fisheries science


Date of Publication:01/01/1997

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