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Keywords:

  • European sea bass;
  • rice protein concentrate;
  • amino acid;
  • growth performance;
  • feed utilization;
  • health

Abstract

As no information is available regarding the efficacy of using rice protein concentrate (RPC) to replace fishmeal (FM) in diets for European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), a trial was conducted to determine the optimum inclusion for European sea bass juveniles. Diets were formulated to replace 25%, 50% and 75% of fishmeal with RPC. Additional high level inclusion diets (50% and 75%) were supplemented with lysine and methionine to determine if these were limiting factors. Fish (18.0 ± 0.06 g) were fed the experimental diets for 12 weeks. The final mean weight and specific growth rate (SGR) were significantly higher in fish fed the control diet (diet FM) and low level RPC (diet RPC25) than in fish fed the other diets. The supplementation of the amino acids had a positive effect on growth, elevating the final weight of the high level RPC (RPC75 + AA) group above that of the non-supplemented group (RPC75). However, this was still not comparable to fish fed FM and RPC25 diets. No significant differences in body composition were observed. A digestibility study demonstrated an inverse relationship between elevating inclusion levels of RPC and apparent digestibility coefficients (ADCs) for dry matter and lipid, with significantly lower values than the control being observed with RPC inclusions above 25%. The mesenteric fat index followed this trend. Circulating leucocyte levels, leucocyte ratios and serum lysozyme activity remained unaffected by dietary treatment. However, compared with the control group, fish fed RPC75, RPC50 + AA RPC75 + AA displayed significantly lower haematocrit values. The present study demonstrates that the inclusion of RPC at 140 g kg−1 (effectively replacing 25% of FM content) does not compromise European sea bass growth performance, body quality or basic haematological parameters. It is suggested that future studies including higher levels test the efficacy of additional amino acid supplementation (e.g. tryptophan).