Intestinal microbial communities of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) may be improved by feeding a Hermetia illucens meal/low-fishmeal diet.Fish Physiol Biochem. 2021 Apr; 47(2):365-380.FP
With demands and reliance on aquaculture still growing, there are various challenges to allow sustainable growth and the shift from fishmeal (FM) to other protein sources in aquafeed formulations is one of the most important. In this regard, interest in the use of insect meal (IM) in aquafeeds has grown rapidly. Accordingly, the aim of the present study was to assess the effects of dietary IM from Hermetia illucens (Hi) larvae included in a low-FM diet on gut microbial communities of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), in terms of both composition and function of microbiome. A feeding trial was conducted using 192 trout of about 100-g mean initial weight. Fish were fed in quadruplicate (4 tanks/diet) for 131 days with two diets: the control (Ctrl) contained 20% of FM as well as other protein sources, whereas the Hi diet contained 15% of Hi larvae meal to replace 50% of the FM contained in the Ctrl diet. High-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene was used to identify the major feed and gut bacterial taxa, whereas Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) analysis was performed on gut bacterial genomes to identify the major active biological pathways. The inclusion of IM led to an increase in Firmicutes, mainly represented by Bacilli class and to a drastic reduction of Proteobacteria. Beneficial genera, such as Lactobacillus and Bacillus, were enriched in the gut of fish fed with the Hi diet, whereas the number of bacteria assigned to the pathogenic Aeromonas genus was drastically reduced in the same fish group. The metagenome functional data provided evidence that dietary IM inclusion can shape the metabolic activity of trout gut microbiota. In particular, intestinal microbiome of fish fed with IM may have the capacity to improve dietary carbohydrate utilization. Therefore, H. illucens meal is a promising protein source for trout nutrition, able to modulate gut microbial community by increasing the abundance of some bacteria taxa that are likely to play a key role in fish health.