Location: Aquatic Animal Health Research
Project Number: 6010-32000-027-015-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jul 1, 2020
End Date: Jun 30, 2025
Crustaceans are the most valuable seafood commodity. Crustacean aquaculture is largely dominated by the shrimp, representing more than 80% of all farmed crustaceans. The sustainability of crustacean aquaculture is dependent upon continued improvements in diet efficiency and formulation to minimize the operating cost of feed that in general comprises nearly 60% of the cost of intensive farming. Water stability and palatability are two criteria that a formulated feed for shrimp must have. Shrimp tend to feed relatively slowly and intermittently. They also manipulate their food extensively before ingesting it. Diets prepared for these animals should be bound firmly enough to remain intact in water for a prolonged period and resist disintegration and nutrient leaching during feeding manipulation. Accordingly, pellets with insufficient water stability and rapidly leached nutrients could reduce the water quality of the culture environment and lead to poor animal growth, reduced feed efficiency, disease, and water quality problems. Wastes derived from unconsumed feed is a major source of waste in aquaculture systems. There is a clear need to develop quality feed that will increase crustacean and fish production, while preserving animal health and promoting efficient waste management. To improve formulated feed to enable greater resistance to manipulation in water without dissolving, binders have been employed to manufacture pellets with the purpose of increasing water stability with a concomitant decrease in nutrient loss. Some natural products such as wheat gluten, high gluten wheat flour and other starch rich ingredients are the commonly used natural binders in feed. Modified substances such as carboxymethyl cellulose, alginate, propylene glycol alginate and lignin sulfonate and some synthetic binders such as sodium or calcium bentonite, have also been used, but are too costly or adversely affect growth of animals. Investigators at the Auburn University Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering (AU-ACPABE) and the USDA-ARS Aquatic Animal Health Research, Auburn, Alabama have developed a novel, new class, all-natural feed binder from pectin, protein and holocellulose rich soybean hull. The production of the novel binder requires only traditional, simple to apply, processing steps and is environmentally friendly generating very little effluent with 100% soybean hull utilization. The results obtained from laboratory scale trials show that the novel binder exhibited both excellent dry and wet performance that is superior to that of tested products currently available in the animal feed binder market.
Through the utilization of various industrial processing steps and platforms, we will determine the extent to which candidate binders influence the wet stability and dry strength along with feed efficiency, growth, overall health, and disease resistance of animals (shrimp and other monogastric vertebrates are possible including fish and poultry) over a 6-12 week feeding period. It is our goal and expectation that the successful completion of this project will make the technology ready for commercialization. Personnel at USDA-ARS AAHRU and the AL Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering, at Auburn University, will coordinate the research, demonstration, and dissemination efforts. Research results and plans will be made available to producers, feed mill operators, and extension professionals through publications and commodity meetings and to the scientific community at large thorough popular press and peer-reviewed literature.