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Title: Dietary phytic acid and its effects on Macrobrachium rosenbergii (De Man, 1879)
Authors: Rasid, Rasina
Supervisor(s): Monroig, Oscar
Keywords: phytic acid
freshwater prawn
anti nutritional factor
Issue Date: Jul-2015
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The giant freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii (De Man, 1879), is gaining popularity as a key aquaculture species; global production currently exceed 220,000 tonnes, however, industry expansion is limited by high operational costs, with the feed accounting for between 40 to 60% of these. Attention, therefore, has been devoted to increasing the inclusion of plant proteins into the formulation of aqua feeds as a consequence of the limited, unpredictable supply and increasing price of fishmeal. The concomitant introductions of anti-nutritional factors (ANFs), such as phytic acid (PA) with the plant protein fraction, however, are major impediments in the efforts toward the increased use of plant protein ingredients in aqua feeds. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that can curtail the development of this as PA has been reported to suppress growth impairing proper nutrient intake, diminishing the availability of minerals, and causing damage to the body tissues and organs which can result in mortality. Although the anti-nutritive effects of PA have been studied extensively in terrestrial agriculture farm species, as well as in a variety of fish species, there is almost no information regarding the effects of PA in crustaceans, including the freshwater prawn, M. rosenbergii. The aims of this present thesis were, therefore, to gain a greater understanding of dietary PA and microbial phytase and their effect on growth performance, feed utilisation, nutrient utilisation and digestibility, mineral availability and whole body proximate composition in juvenile M. rosenbergii. Specifically, the first major experiment set out to investigate the effect of including increasing amounts of PA in the diets presented to M. rosenbergii on growth. The dose-response relationships between PA and growth performance, feed utilisation, nutrient digestibility and utilisation and whole proximate composition were investigated. Four replicate groups of M. rosenbergii with a mean initial carapace length of 6.03 ± 0.30 mm and mean initial weight of 0.29 ± 0.02 g were fed graded levels of PA for 140 days. The basal diet, to which different levels of PA were added to obtain 0.26 (control), 6.48, 11.28, 16.53, 21.45 and 26.16 g PA kg-1, contained fishmeal, soy protein concentrate, wheat meal and corn starch. The results indicated that growth performance, feed utilisation and survival did not differ significantly between the groups receiving the different inclusions of PA within their diets. The apparent protein, lipid and energy utilisations responded negatively, decreasing significantly (p<0.05) with an increasing inclusion of PA, particularly within the groups of prawns fed the diet with the highest inclusions of PA, i.e. the 21.45–26.16 g PA kg-1 diets. The digestibility of protein and lipid were also reduced as the inclusion of PA increased. The whole body composition of protein (p<0.04), lipid (p<0.01) and gross energy (p<0.05) decreased significantly with an increasing supplementation of PA, while the ash content significantly increased (p<0.01), most notably in the groups of prawns receiving the highest levels of dietary PA. The second major experimental trial investigated the effect of microbial phytase on the growth of juvenile M. rosenbergii, when fed diets supplemented with various doses for a period of 80 days. The study set out to improve the growth performance, feed utilisation, nutrient digestibility and utilisation and body composition of M. rosenbergii when fed diets high in plant protein ingredients. To investigate this, four plant protein based diets, which included soybean meal, wheat gluten and wheat meal, were formulated and supplemented with microbial phytase at levels of 0, 500, 1000 and 2000 FTU kg-1 (one phytase unit per kg) and fed to sixty juvenile M. rosenbergii (mean initial carapace length of 8.51 ± 0.52 mm; mean initial weight of 0.40 ± 0.07 g) for 80 days. High levels of plant protein in the diets supplemented with 0–2000 FTU kg-1 did not result in any negative effect on growth performance, feed utilisation nor on the survival of M. rosenbergii. Noticeable moderate growth improvements in line with increasing microbial phytase supplement levels were observed and the highest growth performance was seen in the group fed 2000 FTU kg-1. Supplementation of the diets with 500–2000 FTU kg-1 were found to affect the nutrient utilisation, resulting in a significant (p<0.05) increase in the protein and lipid utilisation when compared to the prawns analysed from the control group. In addition to this latter finding, an increasing supplement of phytase in the diet also resulted in an increase in the dry matter fraction as well as improvements in the digestibility of protein and lipid. There were, however, no significant differences in moisture, protein, lipid, gross energy and the ash content of the whole body of the M. rosenbergii among the groups. This thesis, in a third major trial, explored the impact of other potential ANFs associated to PA, the binding effect of PA with mineral. The effects of graded levels of PA (i.e. 0.26–control, 6.48, 11.28, 16.53, 21.45 and 26.16 g PA kg-1) on the moult frequency and mineral availability in juvenile M. rosenbergii fed over a period of 140 days were determined. The levels of PA assessed in this feed trial had no major detrimental effects on moult frequency. Negative effects (p<0.05) of high PA levels (i.e. 21.45–26.16 g PA kg-1), however, were found on the whole body P concentration. An inverse trend was recorded for the Ca content in the whole body (p<0.005) and carapace (p<0.004) with increasing PA inclusion. These results are consistent with findings for marine shrimp species such as Marsupenaeus japonicus and Litopenaeus vannamei. The graded inclusion of PA in the experimental diets also resulted in a significant reduced (p<0.03) P content in the carapace. Significant changes (p<0.05) were observed in the carapace Zn, Cu, K and Na compositions, particularly in the prawns fed the diet containing 11.28 g PA kg-1, which suggests that the specific minerals were either selectively utilised or retained in the carapace. Accordingly, this thesis investigates the potential of adding dietary supplements of microbial phytase in order to improve mineral availability as proven in several fish species. To explore this, four experimental diets were formulated - three incorporating different levels of microbial phytase (i.e. 0 FTU kg-1, 1000 FTU kg-1 and 2000 FTU kg-1) and a fourth, a control. An aliquot of 15 g PA kg-1 was also added to each treatment. The mineral premix was omitted from the test group diets except the control diet was identical to the 0 FTU kg-1 diet but included a mineral premix and an aliquot of 8 g kg-1 monosodium phosphate which replaced an equal amount of wheat meal fraction. The trial found no significant differences in growth, feed utilisation and moult frequency with the microbial phytase level within the diet, however, survival was compromised. The proximate composition of the prawn whole body was in most cases unaffected by the level of phytase. Supplementation of the diets with microbial phytase did, however, result in significant higher (p<0.05) concentrations of minerals including: 1) Ca, Mg, K and Na in the whole body; 2) Ca and Zn in muscle tissue; and, 3) Ca and Mg in the carapace. The Zn content of the carapace, however, was negatively affected by the inclusion of microbial phytase suggesting the necessity of this mineral within the diet of M. rosenbergii. This thesis contributes to current understanding surrounding the inclusion of dietary PA and the benefits of microbial phytase within the experimental diets consumed by juvenile M. rosenbergii. The knowledge gained from this work provides a means to optimise the use of plant protein ingredients and with the potential to decrease the dependability of fishmeal without compromising M. rosenbergii production and profitability, thus ultimately promoting the sustainable expansion of M. rosenbergii aquaculture.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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