The current situation of the world food supply calls for supreme efforts to ensure the increasing requirements of the growing world population for staple diets and high-quality food and to bridge the widening gap in food demand and food supply especially in the developing world. More than one billion people are dependent on fish as their main protein source, and their number is likely to increase further, since world population is increasing with an estimated annual population growth rate of 2.0% (Lückstädt, 2004).
The global production of fish from aquaculture on the other hand has grown rapidly during the second half of the last century, therefore contributing significantly to the world's supply of fish for human consumption. Aquaculture is the world's fastest-growing source of animal protein, according to a report published by FAO. The report, World Aquaculture 2010, found that global production of fish from aquaculture grew more than 60% between 2000 and 2008, from 32.4 million tonnes to 52.5 million tonnes. Aquaculture now (2011) accounts for almost half of the world's food fish and it also forecasts that by 2012 more than 50% of the world's food fish consumption will come from aquaculture (Aquafeed.com, 2011).
Started primarily as an Asian freshwater food production system, aquaculture has reached now all continents and includes a wide range of species and production systems. From an activity that was principally small-scale and family-based, aquaculture involves now multi-national companies too. Recently, growing awareness from consumers and producers of aquaculture species has resulted in calls for responsible and sustainable aquaculture. Public opinion and regulation authorities in most export countries focus now on the misuse of antibiotics in aquaculture and public attention has shifted towards production methods (Lückstädt, 2005). On the other hand, the development of new aqua-feeds needs to be optimised too, since the cost of feed often accounts for 50% or more of the operational expenses for an aquaculture facility (Encarnacao, 2008). Due to the above mentioned facts, solutions needed to be found. Several feed additives may be a promising alternative for the use of in-feed antibiotics in aquaculture as well as optimising the feed efficiency, including enzymes, probiotics and last but not least organic acids or their salts.
From previous studies and trials, it can be concluded that the use of organic acid salts or acid blends is an interesting option to promote the performance of a wide variety of aquaculture species worldwide. It is also suggested that the impact of bacterial infections can be reduced, potentially leading to higher survival rates. The use of acidifiers in aquaculture can therefore be an efficient tool to achieve sustainable and economical fish and shrimp production.
A series of articles, covering the aspect of using organic acid and theirs salts in a wide range of aquaculture operations, with a focus on the most widely tested molecule - potassium diformate - will be published at Engormix.
Click on the first articles: