Vitamin Mix Helps Health of Farmed Fish
By Marcia Wood
May 29, 2009
To raise strong, healthy rainbow trout
for your backyard grill or for a white-tablecloth restaurant, fish farmers
nourish this in-demand fish with a daily dose of at least a dozen essential
Now, Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) fish nutritionist
Barrows has made it easier for trout and other fish to get those vitamins.
Hes done that by developing an updated, preblended vitamin mix. Its
a publicly available recipe, technically known as a formula.
Its already being added to fish feeds that are eagerly gobbled up not
just by rainbow trout at fish farms and hatcheries, but also by rare and
endangered species being raised in captivity for release into the wild.
A new, nonproprietary mix, according to Barrows, was needed to replace a
decades-old formula that wasnt adapted to todays fish-feed
processing technology. That technology, known as extrusion
processing, creates heat that can damage some vitamins. But the formula
that Barrows developed takes this into account, compensating appropriately for
Barrows combed scientific journal articles and other published literature
from around the globe to find the best available data on these losses, and then
conducted additional collaborative research to fill in missing pieces of the
puzzle. He used this information to determine the best quantity of each
affected vitamin to use in the new premixed formula. Its just one of many
steps that went into the two years of research and development that resulted in
the science-based product dubbed ARS-702.
In 2007, Barrows went public with the formula, which specifies the type and
amount of each nutrient. Two major manufacturers of vitamins now make the mix
which, in turn, has been added by feedmakers to more than 700,000 pounds of
Barrows, who is with the ARS
Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit, Hagerman, Idaho, developed the
vitamin mix in collaboration with ARS teammate and fish physiologist
Gaylord at Hagerman, and Ron Hardy, director of the
Institute at the University of Idaho.
more about this research in the May/June 2009 issue of Agricultural
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.