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Animals 2019, 9(4), 144;

Growing Trial of Gilthead Sea Bream (Sparus aurata) Juveniles Fed on Chironomid Meal as a Partial Substitution for Fish Meal

School of Bioscience and Veterinary Medicine, University of Camerino, 62032 Camerino, Italy
Porto Conte Ricerche, Edificio 10 del Parco Scientifico e Tecnologico della Sardegna, 09010 Pula, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
PDF [231 KB, uploaded 3 April 2019]

Simple Summary

In fish feeding, importance has been placed on the search for alternative ingredients to fish meal and fish oil due to the decline in fishery supplies and high fluctuations in the price of aquatic ingredients. One of the most promising alternative feedstuffs to date is insects as they are considered to be a sustainable source of amino acids and other essential nutrients. In this study, we evaluated the growth performances of gilthead sea bream that were fed two diets containing different amounts of insect meal, composed of chironomids at the larval stage, in order to reduce the protein source provided by fish meal. Chironomids were collected from aquatic environments, processed, analyzed, and included in these two feeds. We ascertained that the two feeds containing chironomid meal were well accepted. Both the replacements in the diets resulted in suitable growth performances and were not significantly different from the growth that resulted from the fish fed the control diet. We suggest that it is possible to harvest chironomids when the maximum concentration of larvae is found in the aquatic environment, or the other alternative is to culture them in ponds or natural basins. In this way, we can add the chironomid species to the list of insects that can be used for feed production in aquaculture.


Insect meal derived from chironomid larvae and collected from aquatic environments was included in the feed of gilthead sea bream juveniles (75 ± 1.1 g) in a growth trial of 90 days. Three feeds, which were namely one control (L1) and two experimental diets (L2, L3), were analyzed and formulated as isonitrogenous (45%) and isolipidic (13%). In L1, the protein source was mainly soybean meal (32%), followed by fish meal (20%), wheat meal (20%), gluten corn (17%), and hemoglobin (11%). In L2, the proportion of soybean meal was increased (33.5%), followed by gluten corn (21%), wheat meal (14%), and hemoglobin (11%), whereas the fish meal source was reduced (15%) due to the inclusion of chironomids (5%). In L3, the proportion of fish meal was further reduced (8%) and that of chironomid meal was increased to 10% of the protein source. The L2 and L3 groups showed similar growth performances with respect to the L1 group. The feed conversion rate was favorable in all the groups, ranging from 1.18 (L1) to 1.22 (L3). Survival rates varied from 93.62% (L3) to 94.31% (L1). Feed palatability showed similar results for all diets. Although the inclusion of chironomid meal was used in small quantities, our results suggest a significant advantage in replacing 50% of the fish meal with the chironomid meal for growing gilthead sea bream fishes. View Full-Text
Keywords: gilthead sea bream; chironomid; insect meal; feed; growth performance gilthead sea bream; chironomid; insect meal; feed; growth performance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Roncarati, A.; Cappuccinelli, R.; Meligrana, M.C.; Anedda, R.; Uzzau, S.; Melotti, P. Growing Trial of Gilthead Sea Bream (Sparus aurata) Juveniles Fed on Chironomid Meal as a Partial Substitution for Fish Meal. Animals 2019, 9, 144.

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