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Underwater structures for periphyton in bioflocs tanks for Nile tilapia submitted to feed restriction.

Estruturas submersas para perifiton em tanques com bioflocos no cultivo de juvenis da tilapia do Nilo submetidos a restricao alimentar

Introduction

In general, fish and shrimp are not able to efficiently use the nutrients present in the artificial diets supplied. Only a minor fraction of the nitrogen and phosphorus contained in the artificial diets is retrieved in the harvested biomass, the majority is lost to the rearing environment (Bauer, Prentice-Hernandez, Tesser, Wasielesky Jr., & Poerch, 2012). One alternative to reduce the waste of nutrients is the bioflocs technology for aquaculture (BFT; Kuhn, Lawrence, Crockett, & Taylor, 2016). BFT adjusts the C: N ratio of water aiming to produce a biosecure environment. Other benefits are reduced water use and effluent discharges, and lower artificial feed allowances (Wei, Liao, & Wang, 2016). Another alternative is the setting of underwater substrates for periphyton growth, which is a complex community formed by diverse organisms, mainly algae and cyanobacteria. Periphyton can act as a biological filter and as an important source of nutrients for the cultured animals (Liu, Wang, Liu, Tang, & Wu, 2016). A third management able to increase the feeding efficiency in aquaculture is the restriction of the daily feed allowances to some level below the animal's ad libitum intake (Koch, Rawles, Webster, Cummins, & Kobayahi, 2016).

A novel approach is the integration between bioflocs and periphyton in the same rearing unit. Schveitzer et al. (2013) have observed better shrimp performance in BFT tanks with substrates for periphyton. However, in a previous work carried out in our laboratory, the underwater structures for periphyton in BFT tanks were not efficient in removing nitrogen compounds from the water or as a feeding supplement to Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, juveniles (Cavalcante, Lima, Reboucas, & Sa, 2016). In that study, however, regular feed rates were employed and, therefore, a great amount of artificial food was provided to the animals. We hypothesized that the periphyton gains importance as a biological filter and nutritional source in restricted-fed culture tanks. In this sense, the objective was to assess the possible benefits of the installation of underwater structures for periphyton in bioflocs tanks for rearing Nile tilapia submitted to feed restriction on water quality, water microbiology and growth performance.

Material and methods

One-thousand masculinized Nile tilapia juveniles were obtained from a nearby fish farm and transported to the laboratory by road. The study was carried out in twenty 250-L polyethylene outdoor tanks over 10 weeks. Fish (0.99 [+ or -] 0.04 g) were stocked in the culture tanks at nine fish per tank (36 fish [m.sup.-3]). The C/N ratio of water in all tanks was adjusted to 15/1 by daily applications of dry molasses to the water, which were based on the feeding management, i.e., percentage of crude protein in the diet and dietary allowances (Schryver & Verstraete, 2009). All tanks were continuously aerated through air stones, silicone hoses and PVC pipes connected to one 2.5 hp air blower.

The experimental controls and treatments were the following: (1) BFT: bioflocs technology for aquaculture with no feed restriction (control 1); (2) BFT-30: the same as (1) but with feed restriction at 30% (control 2); (3) BP: biophyton technology for aquaculture, that is, integration between bioflocs and periphyton in the same rearing unit, with no feed restriction (treatment 1); (4) BP-30: the same as (3) but with feed restriction at 30% (treatment 2).

Two transversely interconnected 0.40 x 0.65 m (height x width) polyethylene boards were vertically set out in the water column of the BP and BP-30 tanks as underwater substrates for periphyton development (Figure 1). Those boards had a useful area of 0.90 [m.sup.2], which corresponded to 135% of the total surface water area. The polyethylene boards were thoroughly rubbed with a rough sponge before installation in the tanks. Fish were fed on appropriate commercial diets with crude protein content ranging from 43.4 - 49.4% at 0800, 1100, 1400 and 1700. The feeding rates were similar to those used by Oliveira-Segundo, Lima, Akao, and Sa (2013). No water exchange was performed over the entire study, only the replenishment to compensate for evaporation.

Water quality of the tanks was monitored by determination of the following variables: (1) pH (pH meter mPA210--MS Tecnopon), (2) temperature and specific conductance at 0800 and 1500 (conductivity meter CD-4303--Lutron), (3) dissolved oxygen (0800; dissolved oxygen meter YSI 55), (4) total ammonia nitrogen (TAN; indophenol method), (5) nitrite (sulfanilamide method), (6) nitrate (Cd reduction technique), (7) reactive phosphorus (molybdenum blue method), (8) total alkalinity (titration with H2SO4 standard solution), (9) total hardness (titration with EDTA standard solution), (10) organic matter (consumed KMn[O.sub.4]) and (11) settleable solids (sedimentation in Imhoff cones). After the determinations of N-N[O.sub.2.sup.-] and N-N[O.sub.3.sup.-], the results were multiplied by 3.28 and 4.43, respectively, to determine the concentrations of nitrite and nitrate. After filling each Imhoff cone with 1 L of culture water, there was a 15-min period of interval before the volumes of settleable matter were recorded. The water quality variables were monitored daily (1, 2), weekly (3, 4) and fortnightly (5-12). All water quality determinations were carried out according to Clesceri, Greenberg, and Eaton (1998).

The periphyton biomass grown on the underwater structures in BP and BP-30 were sampled at the 20th, 40th and 60th days after the onset of the experiment. For that, areas of 10 x 10 [cm.sup.2] were scraped in each structure. The wet periphyton biomass was then put on to dry in an oven at 60[degrees]C for 12 hours.

Microbiological analyses of the culture water were performed in the beginning and on the 40th experimental day (soon after the middle of the period), comprising the number of Aeromonas sp. (culture on Agar GSP with ampicillin) and Bacillus sp. (culture on Agar nutrient). There were five dilutions for each culture medium. The methodology used for the bacteria count was the 'Pour plate' (Rall, Bombo, Lopes, Carvalho, & Silva, 2003). The bacteria colonies were counted after 48 hours of incubation at 37[degrees]C. The results were expressed in colony-forming units per milliliter (CFU [mL.sup.-1]).

Growth performance variables analyzed were the followings: survival (%), fish final body weight (g), specific growth rate (% [day.sup.-1]; SGR = [Ln (final weight) - Ln (initial weight)]/days of culture) x 100), fish yield (g [m.sup.-3] [day.sup.-1]), feed conversion ratio (FCR = feed consumed/body weight gain), and protein efficiency ratio (PER = weight gain/protein consumed).

The results were tested by one-way ANOVA. When a significant difference was detected between the treatments (p < 0.05), the means were compared two by two with the Tukey's test for equal-variance variables or Games-Howell's test for unequal-variance variables. Assumptions of normal distribution (Shapiro-Wilk's test) and homogeneity of variance (Levene's test) were checked before analyses. The SPSS v.15.0 and Windows Excel 2010 software were used for the statistical analyses.

Results and discussion Water quality

The temperature, specific conductance, and the concentrations of dissolved oxygen and reactive phosphorus in water were not affected neither by the installation of underwater structures for periphyton nor by the feed restriction imposed (p > 0.05; Table 1). Therefore, the rate of phosphorus removal from the water has not increased in any of the periphyton-bioflocs tanks (BP and BP-30), as initially expected. The same was also observed by Haque et al. (2015) with Macrobrachium rosenbergii and O. niloticus. These results suggest that is worthless to install underwater structures in BFT tanks aiming to reduce concentrations of phosphorus in the water. Regardless of the treatment, the tanks under feed restriction presented higher pH and total alkalinity. Less organic matter means lower concentrations of free C[O.sub.2] in water and, consequently, higher bicarbonate levels (Caldini, Cavalcante, Rocha-Filho, & Sa, 2015). On the other hand, the underwater structures for periphyton have not significantly affected the pH, total alkalinity and total hardness of water (Table 1).

There was a decrease in the concentrations of TAN, nitrite, nitrate and organic matter in the tanks under feed restriction (BFT-30 and BP-30). The same was also reported in the study of Haque et al. (2015), where the installation of underwater structures for periphyton in bioflocs tanks was not able to reduce the concentrations of TAN, nitrite, nitrate and organic matter in the water (Table 1).

Again, it seems meaningless to install underwater structures for periphyton in bioflocs culture tanks aiming to improve their water quality. Moreover, it is suggested that feed restriction is a better management practice than the installation of underwater structures to obtain a cleaner culture water.

Water microbiology

No significant differences were detected between BP and BP-30 for the periphyton biomass formed onto the surface of underwater structures (p > 0.05). On average, the dry periphyton biomass was 0.24 [+ or -] 0.07 and 0.22 [+ or -] 0.06 mg [cm.sup.-2] for BP and BP-30, respectively (n = 5).

Neither the installation of underwater structures for periphyton nor the feed restriction have affected the Bacillus count in the water (p > 0.05; Figure 2). On average, the number of Bacillus sp. in rearing waters increased up from 60 [+ or -] 15 CFU [mL.sup.-1], at the beginning, to 1155 [+ or -] 259 CFU [mL.sup.-1], in the end of the study. Anand et al. (2014), studying Penaeus monodon, have obtained similar results. In that work, the Bacillus counts increased 2000+ times over a 60 day culture period. Therefore, the installation of underwater structures for periphyton in the culture tanks was not capable to increase the Bacillus counts. The massive presence of Bacillus sp. in healthy and productivity culture tanks qualify that genus of bacteria as a worthy source of probiotics for aquaculture (Nayak, 2010).

There was a reduction in the number of Aeromonas sp. in water up from 765 [+ or -] 93 CFU [mL.sup.-1], at the beginning, to 160 [+ or -] 30 CFU [mL.sup.-1], in the end of the study. The differences between the treatments for the number of Aeronomas in water were not significant (p > 0.05; Figure 2). Probably, the reduction in the number of Aeromonas was due to the competition with other bacterial groups, such as Bacillus. Crab, Chielens, Wille, Bossier, and Verstraete (2010) have also observed a reduction in the number of harmful bacteria in water, such as Vibrio and Aeromonas, and an increase in the number of beneficial bacteria, such as Bacillus, when they stimulated the development of bioflocs in water. Those results suggest that the bioflocs technology can promote a probiotic effect in aquaculture tanks, preventing the outbreaks of harmful bacteria in the culture.

Fish growth performance

Fish survival was not significantly affected by the treatments, averaging 91.6 [+ or -] 6.4%. The feed restriction used in the present work has significantly impaired the fish growth performance, with lower results of final body weight, specific growth rate and fish yield (Table 2). Therefore, the partial withdrawal of the artificial food was not appropriately compensated for the natural food available in the tanks (bioflocs and periphyton). These results indicate that the level of feeding restriction applied herein, i.e., -30%, was excessive or that the bioflocs concentrations in water were not high enough as expected. Possibly, better growth performance results would have been achieved if the adopted feed restriction level had been moderate (10-15%) instead of high. Yet Burford et al. (2004) were able to reduce the feeding allowances of Penaeus esculentus post-larvae reared in bioflocs tanks up to 30% without any growth impairment. Therefore, it is suggested that the maximum level of feeding restriction adopted by the fish producer should be directly proportional to the level of bioflocs in the rearing water.

The installation of underwater structures for periphyton in BFT tanks has not significantly affected any of the growth performance variables, including FCR and PER (e.g. compare BFT vs. BP and BFT-30 vs. BP-30; Table 2). Arnold, Coman, Jackson, and Groves (2009) have also observed the same lack of response from tiger shrimp, P. monodon. Nevertheless, Schveitzer et al. (2013) found a positive effect of underwater structures for periphyton on L. vannamei growth. Therefore, the benefits of the installation of underwater structures in BFT tanks will depend on the definite technical parameters applied to the culture system, such as the quantity and the quality of the periphyton developed on the structures.

Conclusion

No benefits were achieved by the installation of underwater structures for periphyton in bioflocs tanks under feed restriction on water quality, water microbiology and tilapia growth performance.

Doi: 10.4025/actascianimsci.v39i2.33122

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico, Brasilia, DF, Brazil), Capes (Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior, Brasilia, DF, Brazil) and Funcap (Fundacao Cearense de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil) for providing scholarship and financial support.

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Received on August 17, 2016.

Accepted on November 8, 2016.

Davi de Holanda Cavalcante, Francisco Roberto dos Santos Lima, Vanessa Tomaz Reboucas and Marcelo Vinicius do Carmo e Sa *

Laboratorio de Ciencia e Tecnologia Aquicola, Departamento de Engenharia de Pesca, Centro de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidade Federal do Ceara, Avenida Mister Hull, s/n., 60356-000, Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil. * Author for correspondence. E-mail: marcelo.sa@ufc.br

Caption: Figure 1. Layout of the Biophyton tank (BP and BP-30).

Caption: Figure 2. Initial and 40th day number of Bacillus and Aeromonas in tanks for rearing Nile tilapia after 10 weeks (mean [+ or -] S.D.; n = 5). For the same time (initial and final), the bacterial counts of the four treatments were not significantly different from each other by Tukey's test (ANOVA, p > 0.05). BFT: Bioflocs technology for aquaculture with no feed restriction. BFT-30: Bioflocs technology for aquaculture with feed restriction at 30% in relation to BFT. BP: Biophyton technology (bioflocs + periphyton) with no feed restriction. BP-30: Biophyton technology with feed restriction at 30% in relation to BP.
Table 1. Water quality in tanks after 10 weeks
(mean [+ or -] S.D. (1); n = 5).

                   Treatment (3)

Variable (2)                 BFT                     BFT-30

Temp                  28.0 [+ or -] 1.3        27.8 [+ or -] 0.8
ph                 7.77 [+ or -] 0.16 b (4)   8.20 [+ or -] 0.19 a
SC                     738 [+ or -] 268         737 [+ or -] 130
D[O.sub.2]            7.78 [+ or -] 0.56       7.73 [+ or -] 0.54
TA                    87.6 [+ or -] 26 b      138.9 [+ or -] 32 a
TH                   229.3 [+ or -] 39 a      170.7 [+ or -] 41 b
TAN                 0.64 [+ or -] 0.13 ab     0.41 [+ or -] 0.08 c
N[O.sub.2.sup.-]     0.32 [+ or -] 0.11 a     0.22 [+ or -] 0.07 b
N[O.sub.3.sup.-]     2.45 [+ or -] 0.23 a     1.33 [+ or -] 0.22 b
P-react               0.39 [+ or -] 0.12       0.38 [+ or -] 0.19
Org Mat              246.7 [+ or -] 19 a      197.2 [+ or -] 12 b
SS                   142.9 [+ or -] 12 ab     123.6 [+ or -] 19 ab

                   Treatment (3)

Variable (2)                BP                    BP-30

Temp                28.0 [+ or -] 0.8       27.8 [+ or -] 1.0
ph                 7.64 [+ or -] 0.21 b   8.17 [+ or -] 0.21 a
SC                   740 [+ or -] 129       730 [+ or -] 127
D[O.sub.2]          7.77 [+ or -] 0.54     7.57 [+ or -] 0.52
TA                  90.4 [+ or -] 25 b     131.3 [+ or -] 24 a
TH                 227.4 [+ or -] 40 a     171.6 [+ or -] 38 b
TAN                0.79 [+ or -] 0.14 a   0.52 [+ or -] 0.12 bc
N[O.sub.2.sup.-]   0.36 [+ or -] 0.06 a   0.21 [+ or -] 0.05 b
N[O.sub.3.sup.-]   2.29 [+ or -] 0.20 a   1.42 [+ or -] 0.58 b
P-react             0.32 [+ or -] 0.19     0.34 [+ or -] 0.18
Org Mat            246.1 [+ or -] 13 a     195.6 [+ or -] 12 b
SS                 146.2 [+ or -] 12 a     120.4 [+ or -] 19 b

Variable (2)       ANOVA P

Temp                 NS5
ph                  0.025
SC                   NS
D[O.sub.2]           NS
TA                 < 0.001
TH                 < 0.001
TAN                 0.001
N[O.sub.2.sup.-]   < 0.001
N[O.sub.3.sup.-]   < 0.001
P-react              NS
Org Mat            < 0.001
SS                  0.044

(1) These results were obtained in the last monitoring (10th week);
(2) Temp: temperature (Celsius), SC: specific conductance ([micro]S
[cm.sup.-1]), D[O.sub.2]: dissolved oxygen (mg [L.sup.-1]), TA:
total alkalinity (mg [L.sup.-1] CaC[O.sub.3]), TH: total hardness
(mg [L.sup.-1] CaC[O.sub.3]), TAN: total ammonia nitrogen (mg
[L.sup.-1]), N[O.sub.2.sup.-]: nitrite (mg [L.sup.-1] ),
N[O.sub.3.sup.-]: nitrate (mg [L.sup.-1]), P-react: reactive
phosphorus (mg [L.sup.-1]), Org Mat: organic matter (mg [L.sup.-1])
and SS: settleable solids (mL [L.sup.-1]); (3) BFT: Bioflocs
technology for aquaculture with no feed restriction. BFT-30:
Bioflocs technology for aquaculture with feed restriction at 30% in
relation to BFT. BP: Biophyton technology (bioflocs + periphyton)
with no feed restriction. BP-30: Biophyton technology with feed
restriction at 30% in relation to BP; (4) For the same variable,
means with distinct letters are significantly different by Tukey's
test (p < 0.05); (5) Non-significant (p = 0.807, 0.983, 0.230 and
0.113 for temperature, SC, D[O.sub.2] and P-react, respectively).

Table 2. Growth performance of Nile tilapia juveniles (initial body
weight = 0.99 [+ or -] 0.04 g) submitted to different rearing
systems for 10 weeks (mean [+ or -] S.D.; n = 5).

               Treatment (2)

Variable (1)           BFT                   BFT-30

Surv            93.3 [+ or -] 6.1       91.1 [+ or -] 9.3
FBW            36.6 [+ or -] 3.9 a4    24.6 [+ or -] 2.4 b
SGR            5.57 [+ or -] 0.20 a   4.95 [+ or -] 0.18 b
FY             19.1 [+ or -] 1.4 a     12.3 [+ or -] 1.0 b
FCR            0.95 [+ or -] 0.08 a   0.86 [+ or -] 0.11 b
PER            2.54 [+ or -] 0.20 b   2.83 [+ or -] 0.35 ab

               Treatment (2)

Variable (1)            BP                    BP-30           ANOVA P

Surv             93.3 [+ or -] 6.1      88.9 [+ or -] 13.6    NS (3)
FBW             37.7 [+ or -] 1.4 a    28.1 [+ or -] 2.7 b    < 0.001
SGR            5.57 [+ or -] 0.08 a    5.12 [+ or -] 0.09 b   < 0.001
FY              19.7 [+ or -] 1.4 a    13.7 [+ or -] 1.9 b    < 0.001
FCR            0.91 [+ or -] 0.08 ab   0.78 [+ or -] 0.05 b    0.026
PER            2.63 [+ or -] 0.22 ab   3.08 [+ or -] 0.19 a    0.018

(1) Surv: survival (%), FBW: final body weight (g), SGR: specific
growth rate (% [day.sup.-1]) = (ln final body weight---ln initial
body weight)/days of culture x 100, FY: fish yield (g [m.sup.-3]
[day.sup.-1]), FCR: feed conversion ratio = food intake/body weight
increase, PER: protein efficiency ratio = body weight gain/protein
intake; (2) BFT: Bioflocs technology for aquaculture with no feed
restriction. BFT-30: Bioflocs technology for aquaculture with feed
restriction at 30% in relation to BFT. BP: Biophyton technology
(bioflocs + periphyton) with no feed restriction. BP-30: Biophyton
technology with feed restriction at 30% in relation to BP; (3)
Non-significant (p = 0.852); (4) For the same variable, means with
distinct letters are significantly different from each other by
Tukey's test (survival, FBW, SGR, FY and PER) or Games-Howell's
test (FCR; p < 0.05).
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Author:Cavalcante, Davi de Holanda; Lima, Francisco Roberto dos Santos; Reboucas, Vanessa Tomaz; Sa, Marcel
Publication:Acta Scientiarum. Animal Sciences (UEM)
Article Type:Author abstract
Date:Apr 1, 2017
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