The effects of selected bio-active feed additives on NIle tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) production and health
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Three investigations were conducted to assess the effects of selected bio-active feed additives on tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) growth performance, feed utilisation, haemato-immunological status, intestinal morphology and microbiology. The first experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of feeding tilapia semi-practical diets supplemented with exogenous enzymes (phytase, protease or carbohydrase). After six weeks of the dietary supplementation, tilapia fed diets supplemented with exogenous enzymes (phytase and carbohydrase) showed enhanced growth performance and higher microvilli density when compared to the control group. Additionally, the intestinal bacterial community profile of tilapia fed the carbohydrase supplemented diet was significantly altered in contrast to those fed the control diet. In the second experiment, tilapia were fed with practical diets supplemented with exogenous enzymes (phytase, protease or xylanase) for eight weeks. Tilapia fed the xylanase supplemented diet demonstrated significantly higher final body weight (FBW), improved feed conversion ratio (FCR) and better protein efficiency ratio (PER) when compared to the control group. Apparent digestibility coefficients of protein, ash, energy, phosphorus, calcium and sodium were highest in tilapia fed a diet supplemented with phytase. The third experiment was carried out to assess the combined effects of dietary exogenous enzymes (phytase, protease and xylanase) and probiotics (Bacillus subtilis, B. licheniformis and B. pumilus) on tilapia growth performance and health. After seven weeks of feeding, tilapia fed the diet supplemented with both exogenous enzymes and probiotics showed significantly higher FBW, specific growth rate, improved FCR and better PER. The serum lysozyme activity was observed to be significantly higher in tilapia fed the probiotic supplemented diet when compared to the control group. The dietary supplementation with combined exogenous enzymes and probiotics increased intestinal perimeter ratio, microvilli count (density), diameter and subsequently resulted in higher enterocyte absorptive area in tilapia. This study demonstrates that feeding tilapia with dietary exogenous enzymes can enhance growth performance and modulate microbial community profile. In addition, supplementation with both exogenous enzymes and probiotics is capable of improving tilapia growth performance, immune parameters and intestinal morphology.
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