Mussel meal is rich in protein and micro-nutrients Photo: Green Blue HealthMussel meal is rich in protein and micro-nutrients Photo: Green Blue Health

The first feeding trial in prawns to study the use of mussel meal as a replacement for fish meal is underway in Australia.

Preliminary trials in Thailand showed a preference by prawns and barramundi for mussels over wild catch fish meal. Sustainable ingredients company, Green Blue Health, is particularly interested to see if such a diet will encourage black tiger prawn to accept locally available and sustainable ingredients such as by-product from protein crop production.

“We see this study as opening the door for inclusion of mussel meal for a number of other aquaculture species including mud crabs, lobster and barramundi,” said Karlie Wilson, technical director at Green Blue Health.

Dried mussel meal is a compact nutrient feed with over 50% protein as well as a range of essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and lipids. It also contains the naturally occurring appetite stimulant betaine.

The mussel will be tested at various inclusion rates in formulations using poultry by-product and plant-based ingredients to assess growth rates, intake, digestibility, prawn yields and consumer acceptance. The results of the trial will then be compared against a fishmeal diet. Positive results could help improve the palatability of other sustainable protein sources, such as insects.

The study was made possible by CSIRO Kick-Start and is being conducted at the CSIRO research facilities at the Bribie Island Research Centre in Queensland, Australia. Results should be available early in 2022.

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