Aquaculture Research Unit, School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Limpopo (Turfloop Campus), Private Bag X1106, Sovenga, 0727, South Africa. [Email]
An experiment was carried out to assess the effect of replacing fishmeal with mopane worm meal in the diet of Clarias gariepinus. Juvenile C. gariepinus weighing 67.04 ± 3 g were stocked in 15 rectangular concrete tanks connected to a recirculating system. Five diets denoted D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5 were formulated to replace fishmeal with mopane worm meal at 0, 10, 20, 40 and 60%. Triplicate groups of C. gariepinus were randomly assigned to each diet at a stocking density of 100 fish per tank. The fish were fed to apparent satiation twice daily for 51 days. All growth performance indices declined with higher mopane worm inclusion levels. Specific growth rate (SGR) declined from 1.85%/day in the control diet to 1.43%/day in diet 5. Protein efficiency ratio (PER) also declined from 25.27% in the control diet to 19.30% in diet 5. Apparent digestibility coefficient (ADC) followed a similar pattern declining from 92.2% in the control diet to 87.1% in diet 5. Both amylase and protease activity in the stomach increased with higher mopane worm inclusion levels. Despite the increased enzyme activity in the stomach, SGR declined. The decline in SGR was attributed to high acid detergent fibre (ADF 58.4 g/kg) and chitin in the mopane worm diets. Lipase and chitinase did not show any discernible pattern with high mopane worm inclusion levels in the stomach. In the intestines, protease, lipase and chitinase did not show any discernible pattern with high mopane worm inclusion levels. Consequently, the relationship between SGR and all these enzymes was weak. However, amylase activity declined with higher mopane worm inclusion levels in the intestines, and this resulted in decreased SGR (r2 = 0.6722). The negative effects of mopane worm meal were further confirmed by the increase in liver degradation scores at high mopane worm inclusion levels. The liver degradation score increased from 1.12 in the control to 2.46 in diet 5.