Use of ideal protein concept for precision formulation of amino acid levels in fish-meal-free diets for juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L.)
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This study was undertaken in a closed system with Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) to examine the effects of total replacement of fish meal (FM) by soybean meal. Nile tilapia fingerlings with an average weight of 5.34+/-0.08 g were hand-fed one of the five isoenergetic (approximate to13.5 MJ digestible energy kg(-1)) and isoproteic (approximate to31% of digestible protein) experimental diets to satiation, six times a day during 85 days in eight replicate fibreglass tanks (six fish per tank). The control diet containing FM was substituted by soybean meal, with and without essential amino acids (lysine, methionine and threonine) or dicalcium phosphate supplementation. The supplemental amino acids were added at levels to simulate the reference amino acid profile of Nile tilapia carcass protein, based on the ideal protein concept. The results showed that soybean meal diet supplemented only with dicalcium phosphate was inferior to the control diet with FM and soybean meal diets supplemented with dicalcium phosphate and essential amino acids. Multiple essential amino acids and dicalcium phosphate incorporation in soybean meal diets was associated with performance, whole-body composition and carcass yield equal to that of the fish fed with the control diet containing FM. These data suggest that a diet with all plant protein source, supplemented with essential amino acids, based on tissue amino acid profile, can totally replace FM in a diet for Nile tilapia, without adverse effects on the growth performance, carcass yield and composition.