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ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Fish bones - a highly available calcium source for growing pigs

Malde, M.K., Graff, I.E., Siljander‐Rasi, H., Venäläinen, E., Julshamn, K., Pedersen, J.I., Valaja, J.
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition 2010 v.94 no.5 pp. e66
absorption, bones, calcium, calcium carbonate, digestibility, enzymes, experimental design, experimental diets, feces, feed supplements, foods, mineral content, nutritive value, phosphorus, piglets, salmon, urine, wastes, yttrium
In general, there is a lack of scientific documentation of nutritional value of marine by‐products. The bone fraction from fish has been regarded as waste. Due to the high mineral content of fish bones, this material can be well suitable as a natural calcium source. In the present study, apparent calcium absorption of different fish bone sources was tested using growing pigs. The experimental diets consisted of boiled salmon frames, or salmon, saithe or cod bones treated with enzymes. Calcium carbonate (CaCO₃) was used as control. The experimental diets were formulated to contain 0.7% total calcium of which the added calcium source to be tested contributed about 71% (study 1) and 86% (study 2). Except for the calcium and phosphorus sources, the animals received similar basal diets. Apparent calcium digestibility coefficient was calculated using yttrium as indicator (both studies) and was based on complete collection of faeces and urine (study 2). The experimental design was parallel and cross‐over in study 1 and study 2, respectively. In study 1, piglets getting salmon bone treated with enzymes had significantly higher calcium absorption than piglets getting boiled fish bone or calcium carbonate. Therefore, in the second study only enzymatically treated fish bones were included. The higher calcium absorption from enzymatically treated salmon bone was also found in study 2, but this time not significant. Calcium from boiled salmon bones in study I, and from enzymatically treated saithe and cod bones in study II were absorbed as well as the calcium carbonate control. The results indicate that fish bones may be a useful and well absorbed calcium source. Due to the high mineral content of the bone fraction, salmon bones can be well suitable as a natural calcium and phosphorus source in, for example, food, feed or as supplement.