Assessing Quality of Novel Plant Proteins for Salmonids
Approaches for the evaluation of plant protein ingredients for salmonid feeds were investigated in a series of four trials. The first trial compared the apparent digestibility coefficients (ADC) of crude protein (CP) and amino acids (AAs) of two novel products - Indian mustard protein concentrate (IMC, 62% CP) and Indian mustard protein meal (IMM, 42% CP), to a commercially available soy protein concentrate (SPC, 57% CP) for two salmonid species, rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon. The second trial involved assessment of relative bioavailability of arginine (Arg) from IMC, IMM and SPC compared to that of a crystalline Arg (L-Arg) in rainbow trout using slope-ratio assay. In the third trial, the effects of phytic acid (PA) and lignin on nutrient utilization and partitioning in rainbow trout were assessed. Finally, a series of experiments was conducted in the final trial to establish the evaluation criteria for pellet quality assessment. The ADC of CP and most AAs in IMC and IMM were high (>90%). Differences in the ADCs of some AAs can be attributed to the high PA intake by fish fed 30%-IMC diet. The significantly higher (P<0.05) bioavailability of Arg from IMC (123 to 187%) and IMM (116 to 211%) relative to that of L-Arg, as determined by various regression approaches, reaffirmed the findings of the first trial that these ingredients are of excellent protein quality and can readily be used in compounded fish feeds. It can be inferred from the lack of effects of PA, lignin or PA plus lignin on most indices of physiology, performance, and nutrient utilization in the pair-fed fish, that like any other animal, controls feed intake when in the presence of one or more dietary ANF. It was also shown in the pellet quality assessment trial that minor changes in dietary composition can significantly alter physical properties of aquaculture feed. This study highlighted the importance of a comprehensive assessment for the effective evaluation of the nutritive value of plant protein ingredients for use in aquaculture feeds.