Evaluation of coastal Bermuda grass protein isolate as a substitute for fishmeal in practical diets for channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus Academic Article uri icon


  • In response to concerns over availability and cost of fishmeal for aquaculture feeds, a study was conducted to evaluate the suitability of a protein isolate from coastal Bermuda grass Cynodon dactylon for channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus. The coastal Bermuda grass was treated by soaking in liquid anhydrous ammonia under high pressure at 70 C, a process known as Ammonia Fiber Explosion (AFEX), followed by pressure release, extraction and isoelectric precipitation for isolation of the protein. Amino acid analysis of the isolate (32% crude protein) indicated a generally balanced profile that was first limiting in methionine. A feeding trial was conducted in which four isonitrogenous and isocaloric diets containing incremental levels of the extracted, isolated protein were evaluated. The control diet contained 10% menhaden fishmeal and experimental diets were formulated so that the isolate replaced 33, 66 and 100% of the fishmeal on an equal-protein basis. Each diet was fed for 9 wk to triplicate groups of channel catfish fingerlings initially weighing approximately 14 g/fish. Apparent protein and organic matter digestibility of the isolate also was determined utilizing chromic oxide as an inert marker. Results of the feeding trial indicated that substitution of the isolate at all levels did not significantly (P > 0.05) affect weight gain, feed efficiency, protein efficiency ratio or protein retention of channel catfish. Apparent protein and organic matter digestibility coefficients of the isolate were 85 and 89%, respectively. These data indicate that the isolate was readily digested by channel catfish and was able to replace menhaden fishmeal (at 10% of diet) without adversely affecting fish performance. Additional research to evaluate substitution of other ingredients with the protein isolate appear warranted. Further research to optimize protein isolation procedures also is required.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Buentello, J. A., Gatlin, D. M., & Dale, B. E.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Buentello, JA||Gatlin, DM||Dale, BE

publication date

  • March 1997