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Effects of different feeding frequencies on growth, feed utilisation, digestive enzyme activities and plasma biochemistry of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) fed with different fishmeal and fish oil dietary levels

Busti, Serena, Bonaldo, Alessio, Dondi, Francesco, Cavallini, Damiano, Yúfera, Manuel, Gilannejad, Neda, Moyano, Francisco Javier, Gatta, Pier Paolo, Parma, Luca
Aquaculture 2020 v.529 pp. 735616
Sparus aurata, chymotrypsin, cortisol, creatinine, diet, digestibility, electrolytes, environmental sustainability, enzyme activity, farms, feed conversion, feeding frequency, fish, fish culture, fish feeding, fish feeds, fish health, fish meal, fish oils, ingredients, kidneys, pepsin, sodium, trypsin, trypsin inhibitors, vegetables
In the context of Mediterranean aquaculture many efforts have been made in terms of reducing marine-derived ingredients in aquafeed formulation. On the other hand, little attention has been paid to the manipulation of feeding frequency at the on-growing phase, where the high costs related to feeding procedures and the optimisation of feed efficiency and fish health are key aspects for the economic and environmental sustainability of the production cycle. The effects of different feeding frequencies (F) (1F) one meal day⁻¹, (2F) two meals day⁻¹, (3F) three meals day⁻¹ on growth, digestive enzyme activity, feed digestibility and plasma biochemistry were studied in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata, L. 1758) fed with high (FM30/FO15, 30% fishmeal FM, 15% fish oil, FO) and low (FM10/FO3; 10% FM and 3% FO) FM and FO levels. Isonitrogenous and isolipidic extruded diets were fed to triplicate fish groups (initial weight: 88.3 ± 2.4 g) by a fixed ration over 109 days. No significant effects of feeding frequency on overall performance, feed efficiency and feed digestibility during the on-growing of gilthead sea bream fed high or low fishmeal and fish oil dietary level were observed. Pepsin activity showed an apparent decrease in fish receiving more than one meal a day which was not compensated by an increased production of alkaline proteases (either trypsin or chymotrypsin), particularly in fish fed on low FM. Although there were no effects on growth and feed utilisation at increasing feeding frequency, trypsin decreased significantly with an increasing number of meals only under low FMFO diet. Thus, it seemed that consecutive meals could have amplified the potential trypsin inhibitor effect of the vegetable meal-based diet adopted. Most of the plasma parameters related to nutritional and physiological conditions were not affected by feeding frequency, however an effect on electrolytes (Na⁺, Cl), cortisol and creatinine was observed. The higher level of plasma creatinine detected in fish fed a single daily meal with high FMFO level seems to be within physiological values in relation to the higher protein efficiency observed with this diet. However, it will require further attention to exclude a possible overload of kidney functionality. According to the results, gilthead sea bream seems able to maximize feed utilisation regardless of the number of meals, and this could be a useful indicator for planning feeding activity at farm level to optimise growth of fish and costs of feeding procedures.