Aquaculture’s sustainability deeply relies on the identification and inclusion of alternative raw materials rather than continuing with the use of finite resources such as fish meal and fish oil. Different alternative raw materials have been tested, with the meal from terrestrial vegetable species being one of the main substitution candidates for fish meal. This study evaluated the effects of the inclusion (at 0%, 10% and 30%) of Narbonne vetch (Vicia narbonensis) meal in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) diets as a first attempt to evaluate its safety as a suitable alternative raw material. High inclusion (30%) of Narbonne vetch led to a reduced final fish size and weight. This seemed to be due to severe histopathological alterations in the proximal intestine that might alter the capacity of the fish to efficiently use the nutrients supplied by the diet. In contrast, a 10% inclusion did not affect fish growth nor digestive system and/or the nutritional value of the fish fillet. Although further research efforts might be required to increase the utilization of alternative raw materials locally produced like Narbonne vetch, present results show Narbonne vetch might reduce carbon footprint in European aquaculture and the dependency on other alternative raw materials such as soybean (Glycine max) imported from third countries.
Aquaculture’s sustainability deeply relies on the identification and inclusion of alternative raw materials. Although meals from insects and/or byproducts from different industries are being recently tested, the meal from terrestrial vegetable species is still the main substitution candidate for fish meal. Here the effects of 0% (Control), 10% (A10) and 30% (A30) inclusion of Narbonne vetch (Vicia narbonensis; ZV-156 strain) meal in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) diets was assessed in a 63-day feeding trial by means of growth performance, histopathological, nutritional value of the fish fillet and blood biochemistry analyses. A dose-response trial was conducted in triplicate with 25 rainbow trout juveniles (20 g average body weight) per 500 L tank. Narbonne vetch meal decreased total intestine protease activity in vitro (from 26.81% to 48% inhibition), although high temperature partially inhibited the action of antinutritional factors (ANFs). No differences in fish growth performance and no severe histopathological alterations on the proximal intestine were observed between 10% Narbonne vetch inclusion and Control groups. In contrast, high inclusion (30%) of Narbonne vetch led to poor growth performance (30% reduction on final growth) and severe histopathological alterations (e.g., loss of brush border integrity, high number of villi fusion, reduced goblet cells density as well as reduced width of submucosa, muscular and serosa layers). Furthermore, while the A30 diet decreased docosahexaenoic fatty acid (FA) content in fish fillets, the A10 diet improved monounsaturated FA content when compared to that of the Control group. No altered levels of cholesterol, glucose or triglycerides in blood plasma and/or histopathological effects on the liver were observed among fish fed the different experimental diets. Although further research efforts (e.g., identifying potential enzymatic treatments to decrease the action of ANFs from Narbonne vetch meal) might be required, present results show that a low inclusion (10%) of Narbonne vetch in rainbow trout diets is possible. The inclusion of locally produced legumes such a Narbonne vetch might be an interesting approach to reduce carbon footprint in European aquaculture and the dependency on other alternative raw materials such as soybean (Glycine max) imported from third countries.