This study evaluated the effects of replacing fish meal (FM) in the diet of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) with differently processed soybean meals on growth performance; apparent digestibility coefficients (ADCs); the activity of alkaline phosphatase and the brush border digestive enzymes: leucine amino peptidase, maltase and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase; and the fish morphometric and flesh quality. European sea bass with an initial average body weight of 187.8 ± 1.4 g, were fed either a FM based (control) diet or a soy replacement isoproteic, isolipidic and isocaloric diet. The treatments consisted replacing FM protein by: 25% toasted, dehulled and solvent-extracted soybean meal (SE25); 50% dehulled and toasted soy seeds subjected to dry extrusion and mechanical oil extraction (ME50); 50% enzyme-treated soybean meal (ET50) and an inclusion of 60% composed of 30% toasted, dehulled and solvent-extracted soybean meal and 30% enzyme-treated soybean meal (SE + ET/60). ADCs values of dry matter, crude protein, crude lipid and gross energy did not significantly differ between ME50 and SE + ET/60 but both of them were inferior to the other treatments (P < 0.05). Compared with the control FM-based diet, only the group that consumed the ME50 diet had lower specific growth rate, feed conversion ratio and gross protein retention efficiency values (P < 0.05). The protein efficiency ratio did not differ between the FM-based control group and all other soy derivate groups (P > 0.05). In order to gain more insight on the effects of the diet on fish growth, activity of the brush border enzymes was measured. No significant differences were found in leucine amino peptidase and maltase activities, between the control group and the other soy derivate groups. The activity of γ-glutamyl transpeptidase was significantly higher in the upper section in fish that consumed the control diet compared with fish that consumed the soy derivate diets. Yet, the main activity of this enzyme was found in the lower intestinal section. In all the soy derivate diets except for the SE25 diet, the activity of alkaline phosphatase was significantly lower than its activity in the control diet. Feeding diets that include various types and levels of soybean derivatives did not affect the whole body composition and slaughter yield but significantly reduced liver weight. The results show that in methionine supplemented diets, FM can be replaced in terms of protein by 25% SE, 50% ET or 60% soy composed of 30% SE and 30% ET without hampering fish performance. The inclusion of 50% protein from ME resulted in significantly lower growth performance and feed utilization.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded in part by the American Soybean Association, activity F05GX11314 and by MIPAF, VI Piano Triennale della Pesca e dell'Acquacoltura (6-C-30). The authors wish to thank Elisa Badini and Chiara Franchin for their skillful technical assistance.
- Brush border enzymes
- European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)
- Soybean meal