Evaluation of amino acid supplementation of soybean-meal-based diets for hybrid striped bass
Hybrid striped bass (Morone chrysops x M. saxatilis) aquaculture is a major commercial enterprise in the United States and internationally. Efforts to decrease diet costs and limit dependence on fishmeal, have led to the development of plant-based diets as an alternative aquafeed. Due to limiting concentrations of amino acids such as methionine, cystine, and taurine in plant meals such as soybean meal, supplementation of these plant-based diets with methionine or other sulfur amino acid compounds is typically required. Therefore, the current study was conducted to evaluate different amino acid supplements in soybean-meal-based diets for hybrid striped bass for possible refinement of diets and reduction of production costs. One feeding trial evaluated methionine hydroxy analog (MHA) and Mintrex? which is MHA containing chelated zinc relative to L-methionine. The second trial evaluated the effects of supplemental taurine or arginine on fish performance and potential health benefits. In the first feeding trial, a basal soybean-meal-based diet (56% soybean meal and 15% fishmeal) marginally deficient in total sulfur amino acids (TSSA) (1.10% methionine and cystine) was supplemented with either L-methionine, Mintrex? or MHA calcium salt and fed to triplicate groups of juvenile hybrid striped bass for 10 weeks. The different methionine supplements provided similar weight gain, feed efficiency ratio (FER) and protein efficiency ratio (PER) values that tended to be greater than observed in fish fed the basal diet. Mintrex? supplementation provided much higher plasma zinc concentrations compared to fish fed the other methionine supplements. In the second feeding trial, soybean-meal based diets which satisfied the requirement for TSAA were supplemented with either taurine or arginine at 1.5% of dry weight. Supplemental taurine or arginine did not provide any improvements in weight gain, FER, PER or survival compared to the basal diet. Thus, taurine or arginine supplementation of soybean-meal-based diets does not appear warranted. However, sulfur amino acid supplementation of plant-based diets is critical, and Mintrex? appears to be an effective supplement to meet the methionine and zinc needs of hybrid striped bass.