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Benefits of the microalgae Spirulina and Schizochytrium in fish nutrition: a meta-analysis
Scientific Reports, Volume: 13, Issue: 1
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Use of microalgae in fish nutrition can relieve pressure on wild fish stocks, but there is no systematic quantitative evaluation of microalgae benefits. We conducted a metanalysis on the nutritional benefits of Spirulina and Schizochytrium as replacements of fishmeal and fish or plant oil, respectiv...
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Use of microalgae in fish nutrition can relieve pressure on wild fish stocks, but there is no systematic quantitative evaluation of microalgae benefits. We conducted a metanalysis on the nutritional benefits of Spirulina and Schizochytrium as replacements of fishmeal and fish or plant oil, respectively. We reviewed 50 peer-reviewed studies involving 26 finfish species and 144 control vs microalgae replacement comparisons. Inclusion of Spirulina in the fish diet significantly improved growth compared to controls (SMD = 1.21; 95% CI 0.71–1.70), while inclusion of Schizochytrium maintained the content of omega-3 PUFA of the fish fillet compared to fish fed on fish or plant oils (SMD = 0.62; 95% CI − 0.51–1.76). Benefits were apparent at replacement levels as low as 0.025% in the case of Spirulina and 10% in the case of Schizochytrium oil. Dose-dependent effects were found for Spirulina replacement on growth, but not for Schizochytrium on omega-3 fillet content. Subgroup analysis and meta-regression revealed that ~ 24–27% of variation in effect sizes can be accounted by variation between fish families, the rest likely reflecting variation in experimental conditions. Overall, the evidence indicates that Spirulina and Schizochytrium replacement in aquafeeds can be used to improve fish growth and maintain fillet quality, respectively, but considerable uncertainty exists on the predicted responses. To reduce uncertainty and facilitate the transition towards more sustainable aquafeeds, we recommend that feeding trials using microalgae are conducted under commercially relevant conditions and that greater care is taken to report full results to account for sources of heterogeneity.
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Funding for this research was provided by a Swansea University PhD scholarship to ST funded in collaboration with the WEFO ERDF SMARTAQUA Operation.