The carbon to nitrogen ratio in isoenergetic wheat based diets controls the growth rate of the aquatic worm Lumbriculus variegatus

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Abstract

The aquatic worm Lumbriculus variegatus (Lv) contains high levels of proteins and can provide an excellent fish food. Large-scale production of Lv on low value organic substrates, such as by-products produced during wheat processing, therefore can be a promising and sustainable concept for the aquaculture industry. Growth and reproduction of Lv on different combinations of wheat based derivatives was studied at fixed isoenergetic levels (expressed by the chemical oxygen demand of the food), but at different carbon to nitrogen (C:N) mass ratios under controlled conditions in specifically designed test-beaker tests. Growth and reproduction rates were compared to those on Tetramin®, a substrate known to give excellent growth of Lv. Although Lv did exhibit a growth response on single as well as on mixed wheat fractions, growth was mainly controlled by the C:N ratio of the diets. Lower C:N ratios of typically 6-7 gave a much better performance than high C:N ratios of approximately 20. It was discussed this is probably caused by Lv relying on the presence of proteins for their carbon and energy source. Although growth and reproduction rates were not as high as on the control diet, the results are promising for the development of a worm biomass production system operating on by-products from the wheat processing industry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-231
JournalJournal of Insects as Food and Feed
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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