Recovery of omega-3 profiles of cultivated abalone by dietary macroalgae supplementation
Formulated feeds for cultivated abalone have received considerable attention to improve the feeding costs, efficiency and productivity of the growing cultivated abalone industry in Australia. Less attention has been given to the resulting quality of the seafood product from formulated feeds and the effect of the reduction of marine ingredients in these feeds. Marine n-3 fatty acids are particularly important nutritional factors of seafood that are lacking from feed ingredients at the base of the aquaculture production chain. Considering that this important category of nutrients is already deficient in the western diet, further erosion through cultivated seafood products is of concern. This study tested the effect of three diet categories on the fatty acid profiles of commercially farmed abalone. Two commercial formulated feeds, Ulva spp. macroalgae, and combinations of the formulated feeds and macroalgae were fed to six replicate baskets of 20 abalone (~62 mm) for 12 months in Victoria, Australia. The macroalgae diets represented overall lower fatty acid content, including eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA), but higher relative amounts of alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), than the formulated feeds. The total lipid content of abalone tissue did not vary substantially across diet categories; however, the ratio of n-6:n-3 fatty acids decreased incrementally with the increasing macroalgae content in the diet and by a factor of two with a 100 % macroalgae diet. Also, equal or higher content of all important long chain n-3 fatty acids was achieved with a macroalgae diet despite the lower dietary content of some of these fatty acids. Marine fatty acid-deplete aquaculture feeds can result in decreased n-3 fatty acid content in the abalone tissue. The inclusion of macroalgae in the diet of abalone can offset this reduction.