The use of tunicate (Ciona intestinalis) as a sustainable protein source in fish feed – Effects on the extrusion process, physical pellet quality and microstructure
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAnimal Feed Science and Technology. 2022, 284 1-13. 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2021.115193
The aim of this research was to study the effect of the replacement of fishmeal (FM) or soy protein concentrate (SPC) by tunicate meal (Ciona intestinalis) on the extrusion process, physical pellet quality, pellet expansion, and microstructure. The experiment was based on a 3-component simplex-centroid mixture design. Models with R2 in the range of 0.574–0.999 (P = 0.03 to < 0.0001) were established for specific mechanical energy (SME), temperature behind extruder die (Tdie), apparent dough viscosity in the extruder die (Vdie), pellet hardness, durability, expansion, and microstructure parameters. Increase in SME and Tdie were mainly explained by the reduced lipid content in the feed mix due to the replacement of FM with tunicate or SPC. Reduced Vdie was mainly an effect of increased tunicate level and with the lowest value found for the pure tunicate blend. There was an increase in volumetric expansion and open porosity by replacement of SPC with tunicate, explained by this decrease in Vdie. Reduced hardness and durability were found for blends high in SPC due to incomplete plasticisation. Extrudate expansion, fat adsorption capacity and leakage were explained by the extrudate microstructure measured by X-ray microtomography. Within the boundary of the chosen design, 64% of the FM can be replaced by tunicate meal without compromising physical feed quality. Due to its viscosity behaviour, tunicate meal can improve pellet expansion and fat absorption capacity of extruded feed.