The majority of plant proteins used in aquatic feeds are derived from seed meals, which may contain antinutritional factors. Protein concentrates from plant foliage have received less attention in fish feeding trials. Alfalfa protein concentrate (APC) is derived from fresh alfalfa foliage that contains approximately 52% protein and is low in fiber. A feeding trial was done to assess growth and feed efficiency responses of yellow perch (Perca flavescens) fed a formulated diet with 180 g/kg APC replacing all fishmeal compared to a control isonitrogenous diet with fishmeal. Yellow perch accepted the APC diet but gained weight at a lower specific growth rate (−0.07% per day) and had an elevated feed conversion ratio (+0.32 g feed/g growth) than fish on the control diet containing fishmeal. There was no impact on survivorship or condition nor differences in fillet yield or composition in fish on the diet with APC compared to the control fishmeal diet. These findings indicate that although replacing fishmeal with APC in a perch diet resulted in slower growth rates, the APC was accepted and has promise as a sustainable protein in aquatic feeds.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was supported by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture with additional funding provided by USDA-ARS project 5062-12210-003-00D. This is a joint contribution between the University of Minnesota Experiment Station and USDA-ARS. Mention of any trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Funding: The study was supported by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture with additional funding provided by USDA-ARS project 5062-12210-003-00D.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Feed efficiency
- Growth rate
- Yellow perch