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Interpretive Summary: Defatted and fermented soybean meal as an alternative to fishmeal in pompano fish

By: Anne Kamiya, MS

Alternative, sustainable plant proteins that can replace fishmeal (FM) are needed in aquafeeds. Defatted soybean meal (DSM) is one such alternative feed. Unfortunately, soybean contains a variety of anti-nutritional factors (ANFs) which reduce its digestibility. The authors of this recent Journal of Animal Science study evaluated whether fermenting SBM could reduce ANFs and increase nutritional value as a potential replacement for FM in aquafeeds.

Defatted SBM previously fermented with Lactobacillus bacteria (FSBM) was compared to FM and non-fermented SBM in aquafeed for pompano fish (genus Trachinotus). Parameters measured to determine the effectivity of these alternative feeds included growth performance, nutrient digestibility and various biological parameters. Fish were fed one of seven different diets for a total of 16 weeks. Diets were as follows: basal diet with 100% of protein from FM, unfermented SBM at 35 or 50% of protein source with and without taurine supplementation, and fermented SBM (FSBM) at 35 or 50% of protein source with taurine supplementation.

Fish fed SBM regardless of taurine supplementation performed poorly at both 35 and 50% compared to fish fed FM. Fish fed FSBM at 35% with taurine supplementation had similar performance, nutrient digestibility and biological parameters as fish fed FM. The same was not observed in fish fed FSBM at 50% with taurine supplementation.

Overall, the results of this study suggest that FSBM with added taurine can replace 35% of FM in aquafeed without having any negative impacts on the performance of pompano fish. The results of this study are promising, identifying a potential alternative protein-source for FM. Additional studies evaluating other potential alternative plant proteins in aquafeed is justified.

The original article, Dietary replacement of fish meal by defatted and fermented soybean meals with taurine supplementation for pompano fish: effects on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and biological parameters in a long-term feeding period, is viewable online in the Journal of Animal Science