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Aquaculture

ELSEVIER

Aquaculture

156 (1997) 211-219

A preliminary evaluation of cacao husks in practical


diets for juvenile Nile tilapia
( Oreochromis
niloticus)
Victor Pouomogne

a,*, Gabriel Takam b, Jean-Box0

Pouemegne

IRAD/lRZV Fish Culture Research Station, P.O. Box 255 Foumban, Cameroon
b Forest Department, Ministry of Encironment and Forests, P.O. Box 58 Bangem, Cameroon
Ministry of Agriculture/CEPID,
P.O. Box 3774 Yaoundb, Cameroon
Received

19 December

1996; revised 25 March 1997; accepted 25 March 1997

Abstract
An experiment was conducted to assess the use of cacao husks, an agricultural waste in the
tropics, as partial substitute for more expensive ingredients in juvenile tilapia diets. In this respect,
triplicate groups of 100 Nile tilapia fingerlings (1.40 g> were fed each of three isonitrogenous
(28% crude protein) and isocaloric (4.80 kcal/g) diets in nine 1500 1 fastanks for 13 weeks. In
the three diets, ground cacao husk was incorporated at 0 (diet CCO), 10 (diet ccl0) and 20% (diet
cc201 levels to replace maize flour, wheat bran and rice bran. Fish were fed to satiation, by hand,
with fortnightly intermediate sampling to monitor growth. Fish fed aggressively throughout the
trial, thus showing acceptance of the three experimental diets. The specific growth rates were very
similar, ranging from 2.3 (cc01 to 2.5%/day
(~~20). Although feed:gain ratios and protein
efficiency ratios ranged, respectively, from 1.95 (~~20) to 2.08 (cc0) and from 1.66 (~0) to 1.83
(cc20), no significant differences among dietary treatments were noticed. Likewise, carcass
analysis revealed a slight decrease (P < 0.05) in the protein content of the whole fish body from
diets cc0 (14.2%) to diet cc20 (13.5%). The cost analysis of diets showed a considerable reduction
of the production cost of one kilogram of fish while moving from diet cc0 to diet cc20 (US$O. 15).
Based on growth performances, feed and nutrient retention efficiencies and economic analysis,
cacao husk appears to be a viable partial dietary protein source (up to 20% of the diet, according
to this preliminary appraisal) for juvenile tilapia. 0 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.
Kqwords:

Cacao husk; Feeding; Nile tilapia

* Corresponding

author: Tel.: + 237 482505; fax: + 237 482950.

0044.8486/97/$17.00
0 1997 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PII SOO44-8486(97)0009
l-4

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V. Pouomogne et al./Aquaculture

156 (1997) 211-219

1. Introduction
Use of relatively expensive feed ingredients for fish production in Africa south of the
Sahara is limited by the low traditional market value of fish and fish products in this
region (Pouomogne et al., 1992). Investigations focusing on the utilization of lower-cost
by-product materials in tilapia feeds are therefore desirable. Many studies have been
carried out on the substitution of fish meal by alternate less expensive protein sources,
mainly from plants. The results of most of these studies suggest that seaweed (algae,
duckweed) and miscellaneous
leaves (alfafa, Leucaena, Sesbania, Atriplex) and seed
meals (soyabean, copra, sunflower, brewery draff) are suitable; however, due to the
presence of some antinutritional
factors, most of these ingredients can only be used in
tilapia diets after preparatory treatments (Antoine et al., 1987; Olvera-Novoa
et al.,
1990; Yousif et al., 1994). In this respect, their potential usefulness may depend on the
feasibility of these treatments on the raw ingredients. To identify economical and locally
available feedstuffs, this study was designed to evaluate the use of crude cacao husk in
formulated diets for tilapia.
Several countries in Africa south of the Sahara and in South East Asia cultivate
cacao. After collecting the pods from the cacao tree, the beans are extracted, and the
husks are left on the ground to decompose as organic manure in the plantations. The
ratio of beans to pods (i.e., beans plus husks, on dry matter basis) is estimated to about
30% (Fomunyam et al., 1990). In Cameroon, cacao is the second largest crop produced
for export after coffee. In 1995/1996, about 114,000 tonnes of dry beans were produced
in this country, meaning that about 350,000 tonnes of cacao husks (dry matter basis)
were left in cacao plantations. Some attempts have been made to evaluate cacao husks in
swine and poultry feeds (Branckaert et al., 1973; Teguia, 1982), but no data are
available on the potential use of this material in fish feeds,
The objective of this study was to determine growth performance and feed utilization
efficiency of juvenile Nile tilapia fed diets containing graded levels of cacao husks.

2. Materials and methods


2.1. Experimental

system and animals

The rearing system consisted of nine plastic containers of 1.5 m3 capacity (Fastanks:
1.7 m X 1.7 m X 0.6 m; 2.89 m* surface area each, open to the air). They were filled
with water from an upstream man-made reservoir (Lake Andre) at the Foumban Fish
Culture Research Station, Cameroon. A 15cm mud layer collected from a nearby pond
bottom, was provided at the bottom of each tank to simulate natural environment. Color
(direct visual observation), transparency (Secchi disc), temperature, dissolved oxygen,
pH, total hardness and ammonia nitrogen (Hach kit dr 7000 calorimeter 46000-00) were
monitored regularly. At the beginning, water quality variables were as follows: transparency > 50 cm; mean temperature 22.6C; dissolved oxygen 4.5 mg/l; pH 6.1; total
hardness 17 mg CaCO,/l;
ammonia nitrogen < 0.1 mg/l. Pond mud introduced in the
tank was acidic (pH 51, with a relatively high content of exchangeable base ions (Ca+

V. Pouomogne et al./Aquaculture

156 (19971211-219

213

1.43, Kf 0.28, and Nat 0.36 meq/ 100 g), and phosphorous 0.7 mg/kg (the analysis of
the soil sample was performed at the soil sciences laboratory of The University of
Dschang, West Cameroon). A wire-netting cover (2-cm mesh) was provided above each
tank to prevent fish from jumping out. A floating wooden feeding frame was fitted in
each tank to prevent smaller-sized pellet particles from spreading; underneath of this
frame at the level of the bottom, a flat bucket was provided to prevent sinking pellets
from mixing with the mud.
Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, juveniles weighing 1.4 + 0.1 g (mean + confident
interval, P < 0.05) at day one of the experiment, were produced in one of the Stations
earthen ponds from a cross between broodstock collected from Lagdo (Niger water
basin) and Mape (Sanaga river basin) reservoirs. The feeding trial was conducted over
91 days. Two weeks prior to the experiment, 102 fish per tank were acclimatized to their
rearing environment,
and were fed a basal tilapia diet containing 33% fish meal, 27%
wheat bran, 23% rice bran and 16% maize meal (crude protein 28%, gross energy 4.9
kcal/g). Within this period, all dead or apparently stressed fish were replaced. At the
start of the experiment, a sample of 18 fish was removed from the total population for
proximate carcass analysis (2 fish per tank); each experimental diet was then randomly
allocated to triplicate sets of 100 fish each. Intermediate sampling using a small seine
was performed fortnightly, with no feed provided on the eve of the weighing day; at this
time, individual weighing and measurements were done on a sample of at least 20 fish
per tank. Water levels were then adjusted to accommodate evaporative losses. At the end
of the experiment,
six fish (whole body) were removed from each treatment for
proximate carcass analysis.
2.2. Diets and feeding

regime

The diets contained fish meal, soybean meal, cottonseed meal, maize meal, wheat and
rice bran, and ground cacao husks. The latter was collected crude from a cacao
plantation at Yemessoa (a village in nearby Obala, Lekit division, Cameroon). This
material was sun-dried on corrugated aluminium sheets for 10 days; the dried husks
were then reduced to smaller particles in a laboratory screw grinder (Black and Decker
GAlOO). The chemical composition of the ingredients used is given in Table 1; other
components of cacao husks as analyzed in the present study were as follows: fiber
31.5%, ash 13.9%, Ca 0.2%, K 4.7%, and Na 0.03%. Based on the data in Table 1, three
experimental diets were formulated to provide 28% crude protein, about 4.5% crude fat,
and 4.9 kcal/g gross energy, with varying proportion of cacao husks from 0 to 20 as a
substitute to other ingredients (Table 2).
The dry, ground ingredients
were hand-sieved
(1 mm sieve) and mixed in a
laboratory mixer (Kenwood KM210) while cold water was added (about one third of
feed weight) until a stiff dough resulted. The dough was then passed through a meat
mincer (alto 8) with a 2 mm die and the resulting spaghetti-like strings were dried in an
oven (Jouan EUl15) at 65C for 24 h. After drying, the diets were manually broken into
smaller size pellets. An equivalent of about 8% of live body weight was then distributed
by hand in six equal meals/day
(every 2 h from 0800 to 1800 h), inside the feeding
frame fitted in the tank. Fish were daily fed, from Monday to Saturday. After each

214
Table 1
Proximate

V. Pouomogne et al./Aquaculture

composition

Ingredients

156 (19971211-219

of feed ingredients
Components
Moisture (%o)

Crude protein (%)

Crude fat (%)

Ash (%)

Gross energy (kJ/g)

Fish meal (tilapia)

10

60

14.2

21

Cacao
husks meala
Blood meal
Soybean meal
Cottonseed meal
Ground maize
Rice bran
Wheat bran

17
12
13
12
12
11
11

10.8
85
42
41
9
13
15

2.4
1
3
1.5
3.8
8.3
2.7

13.9
4.1
7.2
7.7
2.4
15.3
5.5

//
21
19
19
16
18

The composition of cacao husks only was actually determined in the present study; for the other ingredients,
the values determined by Pouomogne (19941, pp. 16-17, were used.

fortnightly
period.

weighing,

2.3. Analytical

ration size were adjusted

procedures,

calculations

according

and statistical analysis

The chemical analysis of dietary ingredients


according to the procedures of the AOAC (1990).

Table 2
Formulation
Ingredients

and proximate

composition

(%)

Fish meal (tilapia)


Blood meal
Cacao husks meal
Soybean meal
Cottonseed meal
Ground maize
Rice bran
Wheat bran
Mineral mix
Total
Proximate composition (dry matter basisjb
Crude protein, %
Crude fat, %
Ash, %
Diet cost (FCFA/kg
diet)

to body weights for the next

of the experimental

and fish carcass

were

diets

Diets
cc0

ccl0

cc20

10
5
0
13.5
13
13.5
19
22
4
100

10
5
10
14
13
11
15
18
4
100

10
5
20
14
13
8
12
14
4
100

28.3
4.9
7.2
190

28.2
4.4
7.7
184

28.1
4.1
8.4
177

a50-50 mix of ground chicken shell and ground calcinated cow jaw
bCalculated from data of Table 1.
Including handling and processing cost: 5 10 FCA = US$l.

performed

V.Pouomope et al./Ayuaculture 156 (1997)211-219

215

I
0

15

30

45

60

75

90

Time (days)

I
Fig.

I, Growth

of Nile tilapia

0 -

juveniles

control

A-

fed diets containing

10% c.h.

0 -

20% c.h.

graded levels of cacao husk (c.h.).

Axis, x-axis:

Time (days), y-axis: Weight (8).

Survival (SR = number at the end/number


at start>, feed conversion ratio (FCR
feed ingested/weight
gain), protein efficiency ratio (PER = weight gain/protein
gested),
specific growth rate [SGR = (In final body weight - In initial
weight)/time,
days], nutrient retention efficiency [NRE = (final body weight
carcass nutrient - initial body weight * initial carcass nutrient)/nutrient
ingested]
computed.
Statistical analysis were performed using the SAS statistical package @AS,

= dry
inbody
* final
were
1992).

Table 3
Growth and feed utilization

of the fish fed the different experimental

Parameters

Average initial weight (Wi, g)


Average final weight (Wf, g)
Survival (%)
SGR (%/day)
Feed intake (g dry matter/kg live wt./day)
Feed conversion ratio (FCR)
Protein efficiency ratio (PER)
Nutrient retention efficiencies
Protein (% crude protein intake)
Fat (% intake)

diets for 13 weeks

Diets
cc0

ccl0

cc20

MSE

1.33
11.1
79.3
2.3
35.6
2.08
I .66

1.37
I I .Vh
80.0
2.4
35.9
2.07
I .72

I .37
13.3h
84.3
2.5
34.9
1.95
I .83

0.01
1.07
43.87
0.01
I .90
0.0 I
0.00

24.0
48.4

24.2
51.8

24.8
53.8

0.63
28.5

MSE = Mean square of error in the analysis of variance; SGR = lOO(ln Wf- In Wi)/growth
period.
FCR = Dry food intake/weight
gain. PER = Weight gain/protein
intake. PRE = (Body protein gain/protein
intake) * 100. LRE = (Body fat gain/fat intake)* 100.
.hMeans in each line having different superscripts are significantly different (P < 0.05) from each other.

216

V. Pouomogne et al./Aquaculture

156 (1997) 211-219

Table 4
Gross body composition

(% wet weight) of fish fed the different experimental

Components

Diets

Moisture
Crude protein
Crude fat
Ash

diets for 13 weeks

Initial

CC0

ccl0

cc20

MSE

79. I
12.6
3.8
4.4

76.5
14.2
5.3
4.1

77.1
13.9
4.6
4.3

77.5
13.5
4.2
4.8

I .9
0.5
0.4
0.09

MSE = Mean square of error in the analysis

of variance.

No differences

were observed

Data were subjected to an analysis of variance and Duncan multiple-range test was used
to evaluate specific differences between treatments (significance level: 0.05).

3. Results
Few variations were observed within or among treatments on mean water quality
variables during the monitoring period. These variables were as follows: color dark
green; transparency from 30 to 40 cm; temperature 23C; dissolved oxygen from 4 to 6
mg/l; pH from 5.8 to 6.3; hardness 18 mg CaCO,/l;
ammonia nitrogen, and nitrites,
traces. Survival varied insignificantly
from 79 (diet cc0) to 84% (diet ~~20).
Final average weight varied from 11.1 to 13.3 g with no significant difference among
the treatments (Fig. 1). Mean SGR were fairly constant for all diets (Table 3).
All fish readily accepted their ration and fed aggressively for the duration of the
experiment. An equivalent of 35.5 g dry matter feed/kg live weight/day
was consumed
for each of the experimental diets. The FGR varied from 1.95 (~~20) to 2.08 (ccO), but
the differences were not significant. The PER increased with increasing level of cacao
husks in the diet, with significant differences between diets cc0 and cc20 (Table 3).
The carcass composition (Table 4) was not affected by dietary cacao husk levels.
Moisture content varied from 76.5 (diet cc0) to 77.5 (diet cc20), protein from 13.5
(cc201 to 14.2 (ccO), and lipid from 4.2 (~~20) to 5.3% (cc0); no significant difference
was found among the treatment means for any of these factors.
Nutrient retention efficiencies were calculated from the carcass analysis data presented in Table 4 and are shown in Table 3. Likewise, no significant differences were
found for protein and lipid retention efficiencies among the three diets. These variables
averaged 24.3% and 5 1.3%, respectively (Table 3).

4. Discussion
Our study shows that cacao husks can constitute 20% of a juvenile tilapia diet
without any depressive effect on fish growth and feed utilization. Compared to other low
cost alternative ingredients such as copra, Leucaena or Atriplex studied by previous
workers in tilapia diets (Jackson et al., 1982; Yousif et al., 19941, SGR registered in fish
fed the diets containing 20% cacao husks was at least three times higher (2.5%/day for

V. Pouomogne et al./Aquaculture

156 (1997) 211-219

217

cacao, compared to 0.8 as previously reported). Cacao is a widely cultured crop in


tropical developing countries, and cacao husks are thus available without any restriction
and free of charge. Since many of cacao farmers are also tilapia breeders, the results of
this study may have wide use.
Though various types of crop by-products have been examined as components of fish
feeds, e.g., coffee pulps for tilapia in Mexico (Bayne, 1976) coconut for milkfish in
Indonesia (Hastings, 197.5) and cane molasse (ADCP, 1983) no prior studies have been
conducted with cacao. However, studies conducted on cross-bred swine and broilers, by
Branckaert et al. (1973) and Teguia (1982) showed that up to 20% of cacao husks could
be incorporated in the diets of these animals without reducing growth. Branckaert et al.
(1973) estimated the quantity of the antinutrient, theobromine in cacao husks to be 2100
mg/kg, and concluded that the negative effect of this antinutrient was negligible on
growth of swine fed cacao husks. This appears to be the case with tilapia as investigated
in the present study.
Because of its importance as an export crop for many developing countries, govemments of these countries heavily invest in pesticides to ensure good cacao crops.
According to NRC (1993) most pesticides bioaccumulate
in fish, and may affect the
health of the fish or the marketability of the product for human food. Bahr and Ball
(197 l), Ashley (1972) and Jantrarotai and Love11 (199 1) evaluated the toxic effect of
various pesticides and described their gross effects on the health of various fish. No
overt signs of pesticide exposure were observed with juvenile tilapia used in this study,
and the occurrence of such disorders with fish of bigger sizes is not likely to happen
within the 5 to 15 month rearing period usually adopted in semi-intensive
system of
tilapia farming. Further studies to analyze the content of the pesticide cacaobre in cacao
husks, and in tilapia fed with this ingredient, should be undertaken. In addition, since the
present research was limited to fingerlings and lasted 13 weeks only, more investigations
are necessary with marketable fish and over a longer rearing period to supply more
suitable information to tilapia farmers.
Though few differences were found between the experimental diets in terms of fish
growth, an economic appraisal of the study may reveal useful practical information.
Since cacao husks are available nearly free of charge, the cost of the experimental diets
was evaluated at 190 for the control diet, 184 and 177 CFA/kg (US$l is equivalent to
about 5 10 F CFA, Table 1) for the diets containing
10 and 20% of cacao husks,
respectively;
the corresponding
costs of one kilogram of tilapia produced (feed
price * FGR) in the different treatments are: 395, 38 1 and 345 CFA. According to the
study, the production cost of tilapia decreased with the increasing of the level of cacao
husks in the diet up to a 20% level. It would be interesting to conduct additional studies
to investigate the effects of higher rate of incorporation.

5. Conclusion
In conclusion, cacao husk can be recommended
as a viable dietary supplement in
juvenile tilapia diets. Longer-term experiments, in grow-out ponds under field conditions, are needed, eventually with greater incorporation levels of this ingredient in the

218

V. Pouomogne et al./Aquaculture

156 (1997) 211-219

diets, as an economical appraisal survey on its cost-effectiveness


(drying and grinding) and transportation.

in terms of processing

Acknowledgements
We thank M. Onomo Jean-Bosco, leader of the farmer association Groupy (Yemessoa village, near Obala, Cameroon) and M. Pempeme Aliou, research technician at
IRAD/IRZV
Fish culture Research Station (Foumban, Cameroon) for their kind assistance. This study was conducted in the setting of the project Developpement
de
lactivite piscicole B Yemessoa, with the CDI financement No. 93 007 OOO/ 18 of the
French Mission for Cooperation and Cultural Action (MCAC) in Cameroon. The grant
was administered by the Centre dexcellence pour la Production, 1Innovation et le
Developpement (CEPID), YaoundC, Cameroon.

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