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Amino acid availability and protein digestibility of several protein sources for Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus


Igo G. Guimarães, AquaNutri, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, São Paulo State University, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil. E-mail:


Apparent amino acid availability coefficients and protein digestibility of four animal products [fish meal (FM), meat and bone meal (MBM), poultry by-product and feather meal] and four plant protein-rich products [soybean meal (SBM), cottonseed meal-28, cottonseed meal-38 and corn gluten meal (CGM)] were determined for Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. Ingredients were incorporated to a practical reference diet at a 7 : 3 ratio (70% of reference diet and 30% of test ingredient). Chromic oxide was used as external digestibility marker. Among animal products poultry by-product meal (PBM; 89.7%) and FM (88.6%) presented the highest apparent protein digestibility (APD) while MBM (78.4%) and feather meal (78.5%) presented the lowest APD. Among plant protein-rich products CGM (91.4%) and SBM (92.4%) presented the highest APD values while cottonseed meal-28 presented the lowest APD (78.6%). Average apparent amino acid availability of feed ingredients was similar to protein digestibility with 92.3%, 89.6%, 73.4%, 80.7%, 88.9%, 84.4%, 91.2% and 79.7% values for SBM, CGM, cottonseed meal-28 and 38, FM, MBM, PBM and feather meal respectively. These results indicate that O. niloticus is able to utilize efficiently different feedstuffs.