Background: The low cost and wide-availability of copra meal in many tropical countries where aquaculture is practiced have generated much interest in its potential inclusion in fish diet formulations. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of very high inclusions of autoclaved copra meal on the growth and feed utilization parameters as well as the sensory qualities of the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. Methods: Fish were fed three experimental diets, a control (CTRL) diet which had fishmeal as the main protein source at an inclusion of 365 gkg-1 and two test diets which contained copra meal at 680 g kg-1 inclusions for a 6-week period. One of the copra meal diets contained sesame meal supplementation (CM+S) as a natural high source of methionine which is the first limiting essential amino acid in copra meal. Results: The dietary treatments had no differential effects on growth, feed intake, or feed utilization parameters in O. niloticus. With the exception of the significantly higher lipid content of the CM+S group, the whole body compositions of the different fish groups were not significantly affected by the different dietary treatments. Remarkably, the high dietary inclusions of copra meal did not have any significant effects on fillet sensory attributes. Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate that it is possible to include autoclaved copra meal up to 680 g kg-1 in Nile tilapia diets without any deleterious effects on fish growth or on flesh sensory characteristics.
Kwasi Adu Obirikorang, Stephen Amisah ,Peter Vilhelm Skov