Date of Award
Master of Science
Seafood represents the most important source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) in the human diet. However, consuming fish can present risks from persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that bioaccumulate in edible tissues following dietary exposure. In farmed fish, POPs accumulate as a result of feeding diets based on fish oil (FO). Fish oil substitution can reduce POP accumulation, but also results in loss of beneficial LC-PUFAs. Fish oil-based finishing diets at the end of production can restore LC-PUFAs, but this strategy also increases POPs. The present study assessed the use of saturated fatty acid (SFA)-rich lipids to replace fish oil in grow-out feeds in conjunction with a fish oil-rich finishing diet to determine if this strategy could produce hybrid striped bass with equal production performance, equivalent LC-PUFA levels, and reduced POP concentrations. Triplicate tanks of hybrid striped bass were raised on diets containing fish oil (100% FO), fish oil spiked with additional POPs (100% FO Spike), or blends (50/50 or 25/75) of FO and coconut (CO) or palm (PO) oils (50% CO, 50% PO, 75% CO, 75% PO) with and without an eight week finishing period with the 100% FO diet prior to harvest. Production performance, fillet LC-PUFA, and POP content were assessed. Production performance was not adversely affected by any of the feeding regimens. However, fatty acid profile was altered, with fillets of fish consuming less fish oil having lower LC-PUFA and POP levels. Finishing yielded a modest increase in fillet LC-PUFAs and POPs, but POPs accumulated more readily than LC-PUFAs during finishing. However, harvest fillet POP and LC-PUFA levels in the experimental groups were lower relative to levels in the 100% FO group. Replacing fish oil in aquafeeds can produce fish with reduced LC-PUFAs, and also reduced POPs. Feeding fish oil results in more rapid accumulation of POPs than LC-PUFA. Overall, the 75% fish oil replacement feeds yielded fish with the highest ratio of LC-PUFAs to POPs. Despite lower LC-PUFA content, fillets of fish fed the 75% fish oil replacement feeds could be incorporated into a weekly meal plan with other dietary sources of LC-PUFAs to meet dietary recommendations for these essential nutrients.
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