Master of Science (MS)


Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type



Consistently high market demand combined with low commercial catches have made Florida pompano, Trachinotus carolinus, one of the highest valued finfish from the Gulf of Mexico. Economic incentive has spurred interest in pompano culture since the 1950s, yet the body of nutritional research on pompano is still sparse. This study was conducted to measure the apparent digestibility of nutrients among a selection of common feed ingredients, and determine the optimum dietary protein level for juvenile Florida pompano at a fixed protein-to-energy ratio, in order to formulate nutritionally complete, cost-effective diets. The four ingredients tested in the digestibility trial were soybean meal (SM), meat and bone meal (MB), fish meal (FM), and corn grain (CG). Apparent energy digestibility (AED) was similar for SM (67.4 ± 0.8 %) and MB (65.7 ± 8.2 %), while FM was significantly higher (105.1 ± 5.4 %), and CG was significantly lower (41.4 ± 0.5 %). Apparent crude protein digestibility (ACPD) varied by ingredient: SM (84.3 ± 0.5 %), MB (62.4 ± 6.1 %), FM (95.3 ± 1.9 %), and CG (71.4 ± 1.0 %). The apparent amino acid availability (AAAA) ranges mirrored the ACPD values: SM (78.4 ± 2.2 – 96.5 ± 1.0 %), MB (48.1 ± 9.5 – 84.7 ± 3.8 %), FM (89.0 ± 7.9 – 109.1 ± 14.6 %), and CG (40.0 ± 3.9 – 85.0 ± 0.4 %). In addition to AED and ACPD, AAAA values provide a previously unreported measure of the growth-promoting value of each ingredient for Florida pompano. The second experiment was a growth trial that examined the growth effects of six dietary protein levels (36% - 56% CP) at a fixed digestible energy-to-protein ratio (9 kcal DE/g CP). Survival was poor throughout the experiment, which led to termination of the 36% CP treatment by week six. Fish growth performance during the remaining five treatments produced significantly higher weight gain for the 48% and 56% CP treatments than the 40% CP treatment. Broken-line regression indicated an ideal protein level of about 46% CP for Florida pompano diets containing 9 kcal DE/g CP.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Robert C. Reigh