Pacific hake (Merluccius productus Ayres, 1855) hydrolysates as feed attractants for juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha Walbaum, 1792)

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Abstract

Soybean meal (SBM) inclusion in salmonid diets can lower feed cost, but dramatically reduces growth and feed utilization, and increases mortality in juvenile chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, due to diminished diet palatability and/or other adverse physiological effects exerted by antinutritional factors in SBM. The objective of this study was to investigate whether commercial Antarctic krill meal Euphausia superba or hydrolysates enzymatically produced from Pacific hake Merluccius productus could reverse the negative palatability effects of SBM inclusion in juvenile chinook salmon diets. Diets without SBM or with SBM and no added feed attractant were used as positive and negative control diets respectively. Incorporation of 2% krill meal or Alcalase®-produced hydrolysates into SBM-containing diets (20% of dry matter by isonitrogenous replacement of fishmeal) significantly (P < 0.05) increased feed intake, feed utilization, fish weight gain and thermal growth coefficient during a 5-week trial. Nevertheless, the negative effects on fish performance incurred by dietary inclusion of 20% SBM could not be fully reversed, indicating that most of those effects were likely unrelated to palatability. This study demonstrates the potential for using Pacific hake hydrolysates as a dietary feed attractant for salmonid diets, and supports the need for further research to optimize its application for ideal fish performance.

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