Argentina: A group of specialists is working on the development of technology to improve fish nutrition with the ultimate aim of strengthening the aquaculture industry in the country, as feed quality is one of the main factors limiting its growth.
One of the most important challenges of the activity is to reduce the use of ingredients of marine origin in feed, especially fishmeal and fish oil because its availability is limited, explains INTI-Mar del Plata aquaculture team.
To replace these ingredients with other land animal or vegetable inputs, it is important not only to supplement nutrients such as protein, oil, and carbohydrates, but also to achieve competitive production results with minimal environmental impact.
It is essential to determine the digestibility of the diets, that is, the proportion of the feed absorbed in the fish’s digestive tract. If its result is reduced, it not only causes a decrease in meat production but also a greater amount of nutrients excreted to the environment, which increase water pollution.
"It is important to understand nutrition in aquaculture as a process whose outcome is modulated by physiological conditions, life cycle stage, species, health status and environmental conditions of the resource being farmed.The fish’s growth and well-being can and should be optimized through the delivery of feed with adequate nutrients," highlights INTI engineer Marisa Villian, who gained expertise in Aquaculture Nutrition at Puerto Montt headquarters of Universidad Austral de Chile.
When developing balanced feed, the two fundamental pillars that must be taken into account are nutrition and technology. The first one is related to the study of the set of processes required to provide the necessary energy and nutrients for the organism while the second one deals with the manufacture of artificial feed and the physical characteristics to be met by it.
"As INTI-Mar del Plata specialists, we work in collaboration with other institutions in the design of experiences and the development of equipment and techniques to determine the digestibility of diets and ingredients in the species of interest in our country," underlines Villian.