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New Fish Diet Shows Promise

US - A plant based fish feed created by the US Agricultural Research Service saw success when consumers took a blind taste test between conventionally reared fish and fish reared on the new feed.

"That's good news because you don't want (plant-based diets) to impact the quality of the product that consumers like," Gary Fornshell, an aquaculture educator with the University of Idaho, told CapitalPress.

According to the news agency the taste test was conducted Oct. 23 during a field day at the College of Southern Idaho's fish hatchery at Twin Falls.

Only five of the 15 fish farmers who participated thought they could detect any difference in flavor between the two fillets, Fornshell said. It would have taken nine out of 15 to indicate any significant difference.

The plant-based diet included Clearwater barley, corn gluten meal and soy protein concentrate.

Capital Press say that Clearwater is a hull-less, two-row barley variety released last year by plant breeders at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, Idaho.

Low in phytic acid, it's been targeted specially for the commercial fish market. Researchers said low-phytate barley makes more phosphorus available to fish to absorb immediately, so less of the nutrient is excreted. So in addition to being a potentially lower-cost alternative to fish meal, low-phytate barley promises to be more environmentally friendly, they said.