The use of acidifiers in fisheries and aquaculture
Since the early 1980s, yearly growth rates of around 10 percent have been reported for the aquaculture sector.
Due to this situation, global production of farmed fish and shellfish has more than doubled in volume and value in the past 15 years (Naylor et al., 2000). The contribution of aquaculture to total fish production directly consumed by humans is currently more than 25 percent. Aquaculture is at present the only growing sector within the fishing industry and is also reputed to be the fastest growing food production sector in the world.
Williams et al. (2000) pointed out main goals for the aquaculture industry if sustainability is to be achieved and this includes especially the promotion of environmentally sound practices in all fields of fish and shrimp production.
In the field of aquaculture it is well established so far that the inclusion of antibiotics into the diets of fish (Ahmad and Matty, 1989) can promote growth and feed conversion.
However recently, growing awareness from consumers and producers of aquaculture species has resulted in calls for responsible and sustainable aquaculture, also in the much debated shrimp production in South East Asia (Verbeeke, 2001; Feedinfo, 2005). Public opinion and regulation authorities in most export countries focus now on the misuse of antibiotics in aquaculture and public attention has shifted towards production methods (Luckstadt, 2005).
Furthermore, the EU has banned all antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) from livestock production with effect of January 2006, since the use of low levels of these antibiotics in animal feeds possesses the possibility to transfer bacterial immunity to species pathogenic in animals and humans (Liem, 2004).
Due to the above mentioned facts however, alternatives needed to be found.
Several feed additives, including acidifier consisting of organic acids and their salts may be a promising alternative for the use of in-feed antibiotics in aquaculture.
In animal nutrition organic acidifier and their salts exert their performance promotion effects via three different ways, as currently reviewed by Freitag (2006): in the feed, in the gastro-intestinal tract and due to effects onto the metabolism of the animal
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Article made possible through the contribution of ADDCON Nordic AS.