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Natural Food Mystery of Tastiest Bangus'

PHILIPPINES - Dagupancity has a reputation for the tastiest bangus or milkfish, but the composition of what it;s fed - lablab - which supposedly ensures the superior quality of the product, remains shrouded in mystery.

Before commercial feeds were introduced to the local aquaculture industry, cultured bangus in Dagupan was fed solely on lablab, a mat of organic material found at the bottom of fishponds.

According to an article in the Inquirer, aquaculture experts and scientists have no accurate definition of lablab. However, Dr. Westly Rosario, chief of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Research Center, believes it to be a combination of plankton (microscopic organisms) and decomposing algae.

It has no English name, nor scientific name, and there is not sufficient research available to pinpoint exactly what makes up this wonder food.

Although it is known that there are areas in Dagupan where lablab thrives, and also areas where lumot (filamentous algae) abound and serve as an organic meal for bangus, said Dr Rosario.

Lablab could be partly lumot and partly plankton, which looks like a mat covering the fishponds’ floor and he describes it as the natural food of bangus.

While commercial feeds have all the nutritional requirements for the fish, these cannot approximate the nutrients of lablab, in the same way that infant formula cannot approximate the nutrients of mother’s milk, he said.

View the Inquirer story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy

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