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Remarkable Affect of Diets on Abalone Meat Nutrient Composition and Shell Pigmentation

Jun 21, 2013

Summary: Red and brown seaweeds are natural foods for Haliotis discus hannai, an abalone species with dark-brown shells that is also known as Ezo. This preliminary study investigated the effect of seaweed on the color and quality of the meat and shells of this abalone. Results showed that a formulated test diet and an established commercial feed individually resulted in lower growth rates and meat protein contents of abalone than a control seaweed (Palmaria mollis) diet.  The two artificial diets also led to abalone with yellow or orange colored shells, which were different from dark-brown shells of abalone fed the seaweed. However, the combination of feeding the seaweed with either of the artificial diets remarkably improved the growth performance, product composition and shell appearance.

Abalone is a delicious and highly prized seafood.  There is a great demand for development of artificial abalone feed in order to support the sustainable production of abalone. Commercial feeds for various species have been produced in several countries, however there is still no commercial abalone feed produced in the US. Abalone production in Hawaii mainly depends on imported feeds.  Ezo is the major species of abalone cultured in Hawaii. Wild Ezo or Ezo fed with red or brown seaweeds have dark-brown or black shells (Fig. 1. Left). Ezo fed with commercial feeds have yellow, green or light red color shells, which are not well accepted in the international seafood market, especially in Japan (Fig. 1. right).  However, culturing seaweed such as Palmaria mollis is expensive and difficult for mass production.  The objective of this research was to develop an abalone diet, which can be used to partially replace Palmaria mollis seaweed and to evaluate the dietary effects on growth performance, product composition and shell color appearance of Ezo.  Commercial feed served as a reference diet in this test.

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By: Zhi Yong Ju, Dong-Fang Deng & Warren Dominy, Aquatic Feeds and Nutrition Department, Oceanic Institute, Waimanalo, Hawaii
Cecilia Viljoen, Nursery & R/D Director, Big Island Abalone, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Peter Hutchinson, Abalone Feed Extrusion Specialist, Director EN Hutchinson Ltd., New Zealand