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Abstract

Knowledge of ingredients assimilation and biomass contribution to recipient fish is important in feed formulation. The stable isotopes of 13C and 15N were used to investigate the assimilation and biomass contribution of bambaranut, Voandzeia subterranea, meal (BNM), corn, Zea mays, meal (CM) and fish meal (FM), in FM substituted diets of first feeding African catfish, Clarias gariepinus, during a 30-d experiment. The catfish larvae were stocked at 40 fish/15 L three replicate glass aquaria. Larvae were fed with experimental diets varying FM, BNM, and CM. Proportions of FM : BNM : CM in the experimental diets were: feed 1 (F1) 60:20:20; feed 2 (F2) 40:40:20; feed 3 (F3) 20:60:20; and feed 4 (F4) 20:20:60. Feeds and larval stable isotopes of δ13C and δ15N were analyzed. Larval specific growth rates (SGRs) were high, enhancing incorporation of dietary δ13C and δ15N. The SGR was highest for catfish fed F1 and F2 but significantly lower for those on F3 and F4. Results of δ13C and δ15N analyses showed that the biomass contribution from FM was similar to BNM, which were better than CM at equal inclusion levels. The nitrogen contribution per ingredient to larval somatic crude protein was increasing with increases in ingredient inclusion and assimilation. Stable isotope analysis is useful for analyzing assimilation and utilization of nutrients.