Effects of dietary oil source on growth and fillet fatty acid composition of Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii peelii
The Murray cod, an Australian native freshwater fish, supports a relatively small but increasing aquaculture industry in Australia. Presently, there are no dedicated commercial diets available for Murray cod; instead, nutritionally sub-standard feeds formulated for other species are commonly used. The aim of the present investigation was to assess the suitability of two plant based lipid sources, canola oil (CO) and linseed oil (LO), as alternatives to fish oil for juvenile Murray cod. Five iso-nitrogenous, iso-calorific, iso-lipidic semi-purified experimental diets were formulated with 17% lipid originating from 100% cod liver oil (FO), 100% canola oil, 100% linseed oil and 1 : 1 blends of canola and cod liver oil (CFO) and 1 : 1 blends of linseed and cod liver oil (LFO). Each of the diets was fed to apparent satiation twice daily to triplicate groups of 50 Murray cod with initial mean weights of 6.45 plus-or-minus sign 1.59 g for 84 days at 22 degC. Final mean weight, specific growth rate and daily feed consumption were significantly higher for the FO and LFO treatments compared to the LO treatment. Feed conversion and protein efficiency ratios were not significantly different amongst treatments. Experimental diets containing vegetable oil and vegetable oil blend(s) had significantly higher concentrations of n-6 fatty acids, predominantly in the form of linoleic acid (LA), while n-3 fatty acids were present in significantly higher concentrations in LO and LFO treatments. The fatty acid composition of Murray cod fillet was reflective of the dietary lipid source. Fillet of fish fed the FO was highest in EPA (20:5n-3), ArA (20:4n-6) and DHA (22:6n-3). Fish fed the CO diet had high concentrations of oleic acid (OlA) (192.2 plus-or-minus sign 10.5 mg g lipid- 1), while the fillet of Murray cod fed the LO diet was high in alpha-linolenic acid (LnA) (107.1 plus-or-minus sign 6.7 mg g lipid- 1). The present study suggests that fish oil can be replaced by up to 100% with canola oil and by up to 50% with linseed oil in Murray cod diets with no significant effect on growth.