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Antarctic krill meal as an alternative protein source in pet foods evaluated in adult mink (Neovison vison). I. Digestibility of main nutrients and effect on reproduction

Authors Krogdahl A, Ahlstrom O, Burri L, Nordrum S, Dolan L, Bakke AM, Penn MH

Received 8 August 2014

Accepted for publication 16 September 2014

Published 10 February 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 29—42


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Peter Koulen

Åshild Krogdahl,1 Øystein Ahlstrom,2 Lena Burri,3 Sigve Nordrum,3 Laurie C Dolan,4 Anne Marie Bakke,1 Michael H Penn1

1School of Veterinary Medicine, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, Norway; 2Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway; 3Aker BioMarine Antarctic AS, Oslo, Norway; 4Burdock Group Consultants, Orlando, FL, USA

Background: Antarctic krill meal is rich in protein, fat, and omega-3 fatty acids. Two experiments were performed to evaluate nutritional and health aspects of Antarctic krill meal in the diet of reproducing mink to determine whether such a meal can be used as a pet food ingredient.
Materials and methods: The first experiment assessed the digestibility and palatability of Antarctic krill meal. The second investigated effects of four dietary inclusion levels of Antarctic krill meal (0%, 9%, 17%, and 35% of dry matter) on the reproductive performance and health of female mink (16 per group) when substituted for high-quality fishmeal prior to mating through gestation, parturition, lactation, and early kit growth (117 days). The diets are named K0, K9, K17, and K35, respectively.
Results: Antarctic krill meal showed high protein and fat digestibility (85% and 98%, respectively). No effect of the test material on the reproductive performance of maternal animals was observed. Relative organ weights of maternal animals were the same for the K0, K9, and K17 groups, whereas K35 animals showed higher values for stomach, intestine, and spleen weights. Likewise, results of hematology, clinical chemistry, and histomorphological analyses did not differ between animals fed with K0, K9, and K17 diets. Animals in the K35 group showed some changes in the liver and gastrointestinal tract, clinical chemistry, and hematology compared to control animals. At weaning, body weight of kits in the K35 group tended to be lower than that of the K0 group, which may have been related to the larger initial litter size of the K35 group.
Conclusion: Antarctic krill meal has similar nutritional value as high-quality fishmeal and produces no adverse effects in reproducing female mink when included in feed at up to 17% of dry matter. The results suggest that Antarctic krill meal can be safely included in pet food.

Keywords: Antarctic krill meal, protein source, mink, reproduction, pet
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