World Aquaculture Society Meetings


Christian Lückstädt* and Nicolas Greiffenstein
ADDCON, 53227 Bonn, Germany;

Production of farmed tilapia worldwide is growing rapidly. In 2015, production exceeded 5.5 million t. This is only possible due to the use of high-quality fish feeds. Under such intensive aquaculture production conditions, bacterial diseases are a major cause of economic loss to producers, so antibiotic-medicated feeds became common practice. However, the regulatory authorities in most exporting countries now focus on the misuse of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) in aquaculture, while public attention has shifted towards sustainable production methods. Alternative additives to replace AGP's have therefore had to be tested. Among the various alternatives available, dietary organic acids, and especially potassium diformate, which is the most widely tested organic acid salt in aquaculture, are enabling the transition to environmentally friendly and nutritionally-sustainable aquaculture.

The use of dietary potassium diformate (KDF) in tilapia feeds has been tested for over a decade, producing numerous publications and conference contributions from Europe, America and Asia. However, data from Latin America had so far not been evaluated. This study analysed the average impact of the additive from all studies in Latin America on its effect on performance parameters such as weight gain, feed efficiency and mortality as well as overall productivity.

The final data-set contained the results of 7 trials, carried out under scientific as well as commercial conditions with KDF-inclusion, which ranged from 0.2% to 1.0% and covered more than 293,000 fish. Data were subjected to statistical analysis and a significance level of 0.05 was used in all tests. Results are expressed as percentage difference from the negatively controlled fish.

The average level of dietary potassium diformate from the data-set in all treated fish was 0.44%. Performance of tilapia, based on weight gain, was significantly increased by 4.1% (P<0.001). Furthermore, the feed conversion ratio of fish fed KDF was also significantly improved (P=0.01): here the improvement was 6.1%. Data on mortality were inconclusive, since some of the trials were carried out under clean laboratory conditions, while others suffered from bacterially-related mortalities in cage culture. Under those conditions a numerical improvement of survival rates were noted. Finally, the fish productivity index, which is determined on the basis of the three most important parameters in fish production: weight gain, survival rate and feed conversion, improved significantly by more than 13% (P<0.05).

In general, results show significantly better growth and FCR in tilapia fed with dietary potassium diformate, leading to an improved yield. The use of KDF in tilapia feed in Latin America is a promising alternative in the aquafeed industry to contribute to modern tilapia production.

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