Feed ingredients and fertilizers for farmed aquatic animals

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 540

Feed ingredients and fertilizers
for farmed aquatic animals

Sources and composition


Albert G.J. Tacon
FAO Consultant
Hawaii, United States of America

Marc Metian
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
University of Hawaii
Hawaii, United States of America


Mohammad R. Hasan
Aquaculture Management and Conservation Service
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Rome, Italy

Rome, 2009

Download ZIP version  2Mb
Download Full PDF version  3.6Mb

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.

ISBN 978-92-5-106421-4

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to:

Chief Electronic Publishing Policy and Support Branch
Communication Division
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
or by e-mail to:
[email protected]

© FAO 2009

Tacon, A.G.J.; Metian, M.; Hasan, M.R.
Feed ingredients and fertilizers for farmed aquatic animals: sources and composition. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 540. Rome, FAO. 2009. 209p.


Farmed fish and crustaceans are no different from terrestrial livestock in that their nutritional well-being and health is based on the ingestion and digestion of food containing 40 or so essential dietary nutrients, including specific proteins and amino acids, lipids and fatty acids, carbohydrates and sugars, minerals, vitamins, energy, and water.

The present technical paper presents an up-to-date overview of the major feed ingredient sources and feed additives commonly used within industrially compounded aquafeeds, including feed ingredient sources commonly used within farm-made aquafeeds, and major fertilizers and manures used in aquaculture for live food production. Information is provided concerning the proximate and essential amino acid composition of common feed ingredient sources, as well as recommended quality criteria (when available) and relative nutritional merits and limitations (if any), together with a bibliography of published feeding studies for major feed ingredient sources by cultured species.

The technical paper is divided into five main sections. Section 1 deals with principles of feed ingredient and fertilizer analysis, including official methods of proximate chemical analysis, the analysis of amino acids, non-protein nitrogen, fatty acids, phospholipids, sterols, carbohydrates, sugars, energy, vitamins, minerals, the presence of anti-nutritional factors and contaminants, and the analysis of the physical properties of feed ingredients and feed microscopy. This is followed by a second section dealing with methods of analysis for fertilizers and manures, and a third section presenting a glossary of major feed and feed milling terms, including methods for ingredient classification and description in numerical terms.

The main body of the technical paper (section 4) deals with the nutritional composition and usage of major feed ingredient sources in compound aquafeeds, as well as the use of fertilizers and manures in aquaculture operations. Major feed ingredient and fertilizer groupings discussed include: animal protein sources (includes: fishery products, terrestrial livestock products, terrestrial invertebrate products), plant protein sources (includes: cereal products, oilseed products, pulse and grain legume seed products, miscellaneous plant protein sources), single cell protein sources (includes: algae, bacteria, yeast), lipid sources (includes: marine oils, livestock fats, vegetable oils), other plant ingredients (includes: terrestrial plant products, aquatic plant products), feed additives (includes: amino acids and related products, mineral products, vitamins, and chemical preservatives and antioxidants), and fertilizers and manures (includes: chemical fertilizers, organic manures). The feed ingredient section is followed by a summary of the major published studies dealing with potential feed and fertilizer contaminants, including metals and mineral salts, mycotoxins, persistent organic pollutants, Salmonellae and other microbes, veterinary drug residues, other agricultural chemicals and solvent residues, and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.

The last section of the technical paper undertakes a comparative analysis of the essential amino acid profiles of the major reported feed ingredient sources for cultured finfish and crustaceans, and presents average reported dietary inclusion levels of major feed ingredient sources used within practical feeds, including their major attributes and limitations. Finally, the importance of feed safety, traceability, and use of good feed manufacturing practices is stressed, together with the importance of considering the long term sustainability of feed ingredient supplies and the need to maximize the use of locally available feed ingredient sources whenever economically possible.


Preparation of this document (Download 216 kb)
Abbreviations and acronyms

1.  Introduction (Download 41 kb)

2.  Principles of feed ingredient and fertilizer analysis (Download 299 kb)
2.1  Feed ingredient analysis
2.2  Fertilizer analysis
3.  Feed terms and ingredient classification (Download 110 kb)
3.1  Glossary of major feed and feed milling terms
3.2  Ingredient classification and international feed number
4.  Ingredient sources, composition and reported usage (Download 466 kb)
4.1  Animal protein sources
4.2  Plant protein sources
4.3  Single cell protein sources
4.4  Lipid sources
4.5  Other plant ingredients
4.6  Feed additives
4.7  Fertilizers and manures
5. Contaminants (Download 56 kb)

6.  Ingredient profiles and dietary inclusion levels (Download 228 kb)
6.1  Ingredient essential amino acid profiles: comparative analysis
6.2  Dietary ingredient inclusion levels and major attributes and limitations
7.  Conclusion (Download 42 kb)

8.  References (Download 733 kb)