Linseed meal can be a source of protein in fish diets. However, due to its amino acid imbalance and the presence of antinutritional factors (mucilages, tannins, phytates, HCN), the use of linseed meal in fish feeds is limited. Protein digestibility is generally low or very low (70% in rainbow trout, 50-55% in Atlantic cod) (Gaylord et al., 2008; Tibbetts et al., 2006). Problems due to antinutritional factors can be partially alleviated by demucilaging, fermentation and amino acid supplementation (Goulart et al., 2013; Mukhopadhyay et al., 2001; Mukhopadhyay et al., 2005). Depending on the fish species, treated linseed meal can be used to replace 25 to 75% fish meal or 25 to 100% soybean meal (Pianesso et al., 2013; El-Saidy et al., 2003; Bergamin et al., 2011).
Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
In Nile tilapia fingerlings, a mixture of 4 oil meals, including 25% of linseed meal, replaced 75% of fish meal protein (55% of the diet) with no deleterious effects on fish growth (El-Saidy et al., 2003). Linseed meal included at 50% of the diet to replace 100% of fish meal in isonitrogenous and isocaloric diets reduced feed intake and growth (Gaber, 2006).
Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)
Common carp fed a diet where linseed meal replaced 50% of meat meal protein had lower growth, depressed feed conversion ratio, lower protein retention, and reduced protein and fat deposition in the whole body and fillets (Bergamin et al., 2011).
Rohu (Labeo rohita)
In rohu fingerlings, the apparent and true protein digestibility of linseed meal were 82 and 86% respectively, only slightly lower than for soybean meal (84 and 89%) (Hossain et al., 1997). Fermentation of linseed meal with Lactobacillus acidophilus had a positive effect on its nutritive value by reducing tannins and phytates. However, fermented linseed meal included at 25 to 75% replacement of fish meal protein in rohu fingerlings diets depressed performance and feed conversion ratio, unless the diet was supplemented with amino acids (lysine and methionine + cystine), in which case it could be used to replace 50% of fish meal protein (Mukhopadhyay et al., 2001).
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
In rainbow trout, the apparent energy and protein digestibility of linseed meal were the lowest among oil meals, 34 and 70% vs. 77 and 89%, respectively, for soybean meal (Gaylord et al., 2008). Availabilities of histidine, valine, isoleucine and lysine were also lower (Gaylord et al., 2010).
Other fish species
Linseed meal replaced 100% soybean meal in piava (Leporinus obtusidens) (Pianesso et al., 2013).
Demucilaged linseed meal replaced 35% of meat meal in juvenile jundia (Rhamdia quelen) (Goulart et al., 2013).