Nutrition & Health

The problem of meeting dietary protein requirements in intensive aquaculture of marine fish larvae, with emphasis on Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.)


Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) achieve a mature gastrointestinal tract approximately 2 months after first feeding (12 C). The immature digestion may be the reason that compound diets fail to sustain growth and survival in first feeding halibut larvae and in larvae of other marine fish species. On the other hand, larvae fed with live feeds are capable of extraction of sufficient quantities of nutrients to sustain high growth rates. A lower availability of the protein in formulated diets compared with live prey is considered to be an important reason for the low performance of formulated diets. One approach to increase dietary protein availability is supplementation of pre-digested proteins. Experiments using tube fed individual larvae show that halibut larvae are able to utilize hydrolysed protein more efficiently than intact protein. However, Atlantic halibut in culture did not respond well to dietary supplementation of hydrolysed protein, in contrast to some other species. One reason may be extensive leaching of pre-hydrolysed proteins from the microparticulate feed. Atlantic halibut are slow feeders and may thus suffer more from nutrient leaching than species eating more rapidly. Feed formulation techniques affect dietary protein leaching, and in this paper, different techniques and their impact on feed properties are described. Microbound diets are most widely used in larval rearing, but show high rates of nutrient leaching. Lipid-based capsules seem to have the best potential to prevent leaching, however, they are not able to deliver a complete diet. The high need for improvements in larval feed formulation techniques are clearly stated, and some suggestions are given. Among these are production of complex particles, where small lipid-based capsules or liposomes containing the low molecular weight water-soluble nutrients are embedded. In such feed particles the water-soluble molecules are protected from leaching. Techniques for delivery of water-soluble nutrients that are needed in large quantities, i.e. free amino acids or hydrolysed and water-soluble protein, remain to be developed.


Atlantic halibut, compound diets, digestion, larvae, leaching, protein



1 National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), Nordnes, Bergen, Norway; 2 Department of Biology, University

of Bergen, Bergen, Norway


Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Aquaculture Nutrition 2007 13; 170–185

Full paper.

[Source Nofima. For more information please contact Reidun Lilleholt]

Download Document

Follow Us

We are social. Connect with us on:

Sign Up For Our Publications

Select a newsletter/magazine and submit your e-mail to subscribe.

Aquafeed Publications
HATCHERY Feed & Management Publications