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(Sea)food for thought: The importance of organic trace minerals in aquaculture

October 17, 2017

Organic trace minerals can help fish reach their optimum nutritional potential.

Seafood is rich in many of the essential nutrients that we must consume regularly to maintain a healthy life. In order for fish and shrimp to reach their full genetic and nutritional potential, it is important that they receive the right minerals. Organic trace minerals can not only positively impact animal health and performance, but producer profitability, the environment and the food on our dinner tables.

Health and performance

Organic trace minerals are more bioavailable than inorganic trace minerals, meaning that they are better absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal. A fish that is healthy and performing optimally leads to a stronger and more robust animal that is less vulnerable to stress throughout the entire production cycle.

The modern management of mineral nutrition can be accomplished with organic trace minerals at significantly lower levels than inorganic trace minerals while still improving fish performance and reducing mineral excretion into the environment. We call this innovation Total Replacement Technology™. Our highly bioavailable trace minerals Bioplex® and Sel-Plex® (zinc, manganese, copper, iron and cobalt*) play vital roles in supporting fish immunity, encouraging growth and supporting reproduction.

In research conducted with Trakia University and the fish farm Nomicom in Bulgaria, it was observed that Bioplex® provided a considerable increase in weight gain and a decrease in feed conversion ratio. These results indicate that the use of Bioplex minerals in fish feed formulations have a positive impact on feed efficiency, which results in higher profitability for the farmer.

Water quality

The importance of bioavailable minerals extends beyond animal health and performance and into the environment. If minerals are not properly utilized within the animal, they will be lost to the environment, negatively impacting the water quality on the farm. Recent trials have focused on the use of Alltech’s Aquate® premix, which contains Bioplex trace minerals, in fish feed diets. These minerals are chelated to organic molecules, which have been shown to interact less with each other in the digestive tract and are also less sensitive to the inhibitory action of other compounds because of their reduced solubility in water, therefore improving digestion. Because these minerals dissolve less in water than other types of minerals, it is easy to filter them out, keeping water fresh.

Tastier, more sustainable fish

Understanding how a fish responds to nutrition on the genetic level can increase animal health and welfare while also helping the animal to meet its full genetic potential. This results in more efficient production through nutritional programming for tastier, more nutritious fish. By producers bringing improved nutrition to the table, consumers reap the benefits of a functional food that bridges the gap between what is on their plate and their health.

Additionally, the Alltech® Mineral Management program and our Total Replacement Technology ensure that the mineral needs of all cultured aqua species are met in the most efficient manner. By utilizing precision nutrition to minimize waste, we can support producers in the challenge of feeding a growing world while preserving our resources for the next generation.

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