FRUIT peels may no longer be considered as wastes, as the result of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec) study suggests that they can be used as additives for tilapia feed.

The result of a preliminary study showed that percentage weight gain of tilapia fingerlings fed the fishmeal-based control diet was comparable to those fed diets containing citrus pulp, okara meal, and pineapple peel.

The pesticide residue analyses also indicated that among the agricultural waste samples examined, mango peel and citrus peel had pesticide residue levels but still below the maximum residual limits set by FAO Codex Alimentarius.

Fruit wastes were also found to contain high levels of lignin, phenols and low to moderate amounts of tannin, which can be possibly reduced by processing treatments.

The volume of products from aquaculture in Asia has surpassed that of capture fisheries. However, the sustainability of increased production from aquaculture is dependent on adequate and environment-friendly feed that can produce healthy fish.

Feed cost is a major component in aquaculture. Throughout the region, cost and availability of feed are the most important constraint to increase aquaculture production.

The use of indigenous feed resources or even agricultural wastes are now being tapped to reduce production costs and subsequently increase profit. It can also be expected to put value to those considered agricultura wastes and add value to indigenous resources that have either little or no productive use at all. This way it can help boost fish production

Pineapple waste is a by-product generated by pineapple processing plants, mostly dumped and pollutes the environment that the processing plant has to contend with managing these wastes. Converting pineapple wastes into animal feed will significantly reduce environmental problem, at the same time making use of the waste into potential feed resources.

Mango peel, on the other hand, can be fed fresh or dried for livestock, although it needs to be processed for fish. Due to the high sugar content, they are palatable and considered as energy feed.

Seafdec conducts research on fisheries problems, generates appropriate fisheries technologies; trains researchers, technicians, fishers and aqua-farmers, managers, and policy-makers; and disseminates information pertaining to the fisheries sector. (PR)