Development of Omega-3-Fatty Acid Enriched Finishing Feed and Value Added Tilapia Product

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Virginia Tech


Despite being a low fat fish and consequently a low omega-3 fish, tilapia have widespread consumer acceptability due to its mild taste, cheap price and low mercury content. However some sources claim that farmed tilapia can be detrimental to human health due to high omega-6:3 ratios and low omega-3 content specifically eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid. The objective of this study was to create an omega-3 enriching feed that would increase omega-3 content in tilapia and subsequently decrease the omega-6:3 ratio. An 8 week feeding trial was conducted. Tilapia were cultured in a recirculating aquaculture system on one of eight diets (control, commercial, 1, 3, 5% fish oil or 1.75, 5.26, 8.77% ALL-G-Rich (algae). Water quality, selected fish biometrics and growth performance were recorded. Fillet and rib meat tissues were collected at weeks 4 and 8, and liver and mesenteric fat tissues were collected at week 8. Fat was extracted, trans-methylated and identified as fatty acid methyl esters using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Docosahexaenoic acid increased in concentration in all tissues as percent fish oil and ALL-G-Rich increased in the diets with 8.77% ALL-G-Rich resulting in significantly (P<0.0001) greater concentrations in the fillet and mesenteric fat compared to all other diets after 8 weeks. The 8.77% ALL-G-Rich diet resulted in significantly (P=0.003) greater cumulative accumulation of EPA, DPA and DHA on a mg/4oz fillet basis after 4 weeks compared to control. The results of this study suggest that an ALL-G-Rich finishing feed could be produced that would result in a value added farmed tilapia fillet.



aquaculture, omega-3, recirculating aquaculture systems, tilapia