29 February 2020

Tönges and colleagues, 2020

Tönges S, Masagounder K, Gutekunst J, Lohbeck J, Miller AK, Böhl F, Lyko F. 2020. Physiological properties and tailored feeds to support aquaculture of marbled crayfish in closed systems. bioRxiv: 2020.2002.2025.964114. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.25.964114 (Unreviewed preprint)

Abstract

The marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) is a new freshwater crayfish species, which reproduces by apomictic parthenogenesis, resulting in a monoclonal, all-female population. The animals have become a popular source for nutritional protein in Madagacar and are increasingly being considered for commercial aquaculture. However, their potential has remained unclear and there are also significant ecological concerns about their anthropogenic distribution. We show here that the size and weight of marbled crayfish is comparable to commonly farmed freshwater crayfish. Furthermore, purification of chitin from marbled crayfish shells revealed a high chitin content, which can be utilized for the synthesis of chitosan and other bioplastics. To allow the further evaluation of the animals in closed aquaculture systems, we used a factorial modeling approach and formulated tailored feeds that were matched to the marbled crayfish amino acid profile. These feeds showed superior performance in a feed trial, with a noticeable feed conversion rate of 1.4. In conclusion, our study provides important data for a balanced assessment of marbled crayfish as a new species for sustainable aquaculture and a feed that allows their culture in closed systems.

Keywords: None provided.

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