Bamboo charcoal can boost fish growth: study
By Y.F. Low, CNA
April 6, 2009, 5:41 pm TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Feeding fish with food blended with ground bamboo charcoal can be a natural way to boost their growth and greatly enhance the efficiency of aquaculture, according to the results of a study released over the weekend by the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) under the Council of Agriculture.
The results were achieved through experiments in which fish food containing ground bamboo charcoal was used to feed Taiwan tilapia, a species farmed mainly for its meat.
It was found that the fish fed with ground bamboo charcoal showed significantly better results in terms of weight gain, growth and length-weight factor than those fed with normal food.
The experiments also showed that using ground bamboo charcoal and bamboo vinegar simultaneously produced better results than using ground bamboo charcoal alone.
According the FRI, previous experiments had indicated that wood charcoal and wood vinegar can yield similar outcome.
For example, feeding eels with food that incorporates ground wood charcoal and wood vinegar improves fish growth and the feed conversion rate and boosts the fish's immunity against diseases, the FRI said.
Also, giving ground wood charcoal and wood vinegar to scads decreases fat accumulation in the abdomen of the fish and reduces the relative ratios of body weight to liver weight, thus raising their meat content, the FRI stated.
Meanwhile, using the ingredients to raise carp helps ease the negative impact of nitrogen and phosphorus on the environment, the study found.
The FRI noted that the strong absorptive properties of charcoal have been proven effective in deodorizing and decomposing harmful chemical substances, and that bamboo charcoal works better than wood charcoal in this respect because of its uniform and compact texture.
The application of bamboo charcoal in animal husbandry has also produced impressive results, according to the FRI.
For instance, feeding hogs with ground bamboo charcoal can relieve gas and diarrhea and boost the animals' appetite, the FRI said. When used in chicken farming, it can make the meat more tender, increase egg-laying rates and greatly reduce the stench of the chickens' droppings, it said.
Also, feeding bamboo charcoal to lambs can enhance their growth and increase their protein digestion and nitrogen deposition, the FRI said.