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Regulation And Perspective Of Feed Intake In Fish

Dharmendra Kumar Meena

Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Kolkata,700120


The process of taking a substance into the body through the mouth. Depending on its properties and whether it is digestible, the substance may or may not be absorbed by the digestive system to spread deeper into the body. When the substance is food, ingestion is referred to as eating. Ingestion is the most common method of taking medication. It is also a route for pathogenic organisms and toxic substances to enter the body. There is currently considerable scope for applying studies on voluntary food intake in fish. It is of prime importance to define feeding strategies which provide the best growth performance and the optimum feed conversion ratio. The match between the feed intake capacity and the amount of feed presented determines the amount of non-ingested feed, which is a source of pollution and lost revenue for the fish farmer. Moreover, optimizing the various factors which stimulate ingestion improves growth performance and feed utilization and therefore decreases the amount of waste per unit of biomass produced.

Although the research involved is fundamental, its purpose is strictly applied. Voluntary food intake studies should therefore be carried out under experimental conditions close to the farming conditions of each species.

This action will achieve three main objectives:

  1. to promote, co-ordinate and harmonize pre-competitive research on the factors affecting voluntary feed intake in fish ;

  2. to provide the necessary know-how for increasing the competitiveness of European research at a crucial moment for the development of new management techniques in fish feeding ;

  3. to promote new feeding strategies in fish farms.

Feeding management and engineering

The possibility of monitoring each food demand as a discrete event, when food is continually available, is a prerequisite for the study of voluntary feed intake. In the early 1970's some authors trained fish to hit a rod to obtain food for short term studies of food preferences and feeding behavior. These first devices were not computerized, but the results obtained were very promising. During the last decade, new self-feeder systems were designed in different European laboratories in such a way, that each time a fish activates a rod, an electric pulse is generated and, through an interface (computer or electronic device), triggers an electric feeder that delivers a predetermined amount of food. Each system developped by the different laboratories have their own adventages and disaventages, and can be more or less adapted to different fish species or experimental conditions. The aim of this working group will be to share technical informations, and to harmonize technological and methodological approaches among laboratories

Environmental factors affecting feed intake

The environment of the fish is probably the factor whose effect on dietary feed intake has been best studied worldwide. Many studies show that in each species, there is an optimal temperature corresponding to maximum voluntary feed intake. Similarly, it is known that an oxygen deficiency decreases voluntary feed intake. Low concentrations of contaminants and various pollutants affect voluntary intake negatively. Eco-toxicology is mainly oriented towards defining lethal doses for various chemical components or the impact of a pollutant on some behavioural factor, but the threshold of each pollutant above which voluntary feed intake decreases is of vital importance for properly managing fish feeding.

Behavioural factors (including chronobiological) factors affecting feed intake

Behavioural factors often decrease voluntary intake and may even leed to feed refusal. Examples involve the fish stocking rate, the sex-ratio, the demographic structure of the fish population, the presence of another species close to or within the production unit, the effect of human interventions. Learning behavior, as well as the way fish are operating the trigger of the self-feeder is also strongly species-dependant. Chronobiological aspects are also of prime importance: feeding rhythms are controlled by an endogenous clock in some of the studied species, and that some environmental cues, like light/dark alternation or temperature, are acting has zeitgebers. The feeding time itself is an important factor in terms of feed intake, nutrient utilisation, and the level of nitrogen excretion.

Physiological control of feed intake

The effect of some physiologic factors on voluntary feed intake has never been studied directly because of experimental difficulties. One might suppose that neuropeptides, hormones, stretch receptors in the stomach wall, the central nervous system, and more precisely the hypothalamus are all contributing to the control of appetite and satiety, but the respective importance of such factors are not fully understood at present. The use of recently developped techniques, such as labelled feed or computer controlled self-feeders may lead to a better understanding of physiological control of feed intake.

Dietary factors affecting feed intake

Palatability of feed largely affect feed acceptance. It is noteworthy that antibiotics decreases feed palatability. Feeds based on plant proteins rather than on animal proteins may also lead to palatability problems. This has important economic and environmental consequences because using plant proteins reduces both feed production costs and amount of phosphorus in the waste. It is therefore worth studying how to improve the palatability of these feeds, using different feedstuffs, or feeding stimulants. Demand feeders are particularly well adapted to investigating the effect of feed composition on feed intake because they put the animals in a choice situation.

Perspective of feed intake in fish

Food Intake in Fish illustrates how insights into the biological and environmental factors that underlie the feeding responses of fish may be used to address practical issues of feed management. Food Intake in Fish is an invaluable tool and reference to all those involved in aquaculture, especially those working in the aquaculture feed industry and scientific personnel in commercial and research aquaculture facilities.

Feed Composition and Analysis

  • Nutrient Classes

  • Analysis of Feeds and Feedstuffs

  • Nutrient Availability and Feed Evaluation

Feed Types, Manufacture and Ingredients

  • Feed Types

  • Manufacture of Dry Feeds

  • Feed Ingredients

  • Feed Characteristics and Feed Acceptability

Techniques for Measuring Feed Intake

  • Stomach Contents Analysis

  • Dyestuffs and Chemical Markers

  • Direct Observation and Video Recording

  • On-Demand Feeder with Feed Waste Monitor

  • X-Radiography

Experimental Design in Feeding Experiments

  • How Does One Design and Experiment?

  • The Structural Model Equation

  • Sums of Squares

  • Evaluation of the Experimental Design

  • The Compromise

  • Sensitivity Analysis

  • Nuisance Variables and Ways of Controlling Them

  • Adding Extra Factors: Why Do It and What Considerations are Necessary?

  • Measuring Individual Feed Intake—What are the Benefits?

  • What Can Be Done When Life Becomes More Complicated?

Gustation and Feeding Behaviour

  • Peripheral Gustatory Sensation

  • Gustatory Pathways in the Central Nervous System

  • Taste and Feeding Behaviours

Environmental Factors and Feed Intake: Mechanisms and Interactions

  • Abiotic Factors

  • Biotic Factors

Environmental Factors and Feed Intake: Rearing Systems

  • Feed Intake of Fish in Pond Systems

  • Feed Intake in Fish Cages

  • Feed Intake in Tanks

Feeding Rhythms

  • Feeding Rhythms: Descriptions and Examples

  • Other Sources of Variability in Feeding Rhythms

  • Regulation of Feeding Rhythms

Feeding Anticipatory Activity

  • Models to Explain Anticipation to Feeding

  • Synchronishing Stimulus for Feeding Entrainment

  • Applications

Effects of Feeding Time on Feed Intake and Growth

  • Effect of Feeding Time on Growth

  • Effect of Feeding Time on Feed Intake and Nutrient Utilisation

  • Mechanisms Involved in Mediating the Effects of Feeding Time on Nutrient Utilisation

  • Feeding Time and Flesh Quality

Effects of Nutritional Factors and Feed Characteristics on Feed Intake

  • Physical Characteristics and Feed Intake

  • Dietary Nutrients and Sources Affecting Feed Intake

  • Nutrient Selection

  • Feeding Stimulants

  • Deterrent Compounds

  • Feed Acceptance and Palatability Studies

Regulation of Food Intake by Neuropeptides and Hormones

  • Inhibitory Peptides

  • Stimulatory Peptides

  • Hormones

Physiological Effects of Feeding

  • Different Methods of Feeding

  • Short-Term Effects of a Meal

  • Tissure Metabolic Physiology

  • Whole-Animal Metabolic Physiology

  • Long-Term Effects of Food Intake

  • Amino Acid Flux Model: Food Intake and Amino Acid Flux

  • Biochemical Correlates of Food Intake

  • Effects on Body Composition and Growth Efficiency

  • Physiological Effects and the Regulation of Food Intake

Feeding Management

  • Feeding Planning and Production Plans

  • Estimating Growth

  • Variation in Feed Intake

  • Distribution of Feed

  • Feeding Techniques

Nutrient Partitioning and the Influence of Feed Composition on Body Composition

  • Morphometrics and Relationships Among Chemical Components

  • Patterns of Lipid Deposition and Storage

  • Temporal Changes in Body Composition

  • Muscle (fillet) Composition and Factors that Influence 'Quality'

Seafood — Fish — Crustacea

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