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Evaluation of Moringa oleifera as a Dietary Supplement on Growth and Reproductive Performance in Zebrafish

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The leaves of the Moringa oleifera (Moringa) tree contain a significant source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and are considered as an important dietary supplement in countries where chronic malnourishment is linked to poor fetal development. We evaluated the effectiveness of the Moringa leaf as a supplemental replacement for vitamins, minerals, and protein in a formulated zebrafish diet and the impact that it may have on growth and reproductive outcome. Diets included a formulated control (FC) containing an array of vitamins and mineral supplements (pre-mixes), dried ground Moringa only (M), formulated control minus vitamin and mineral pre-mixes (Fvm), and formulated control minus vitamin and mineral pre-mixes and supplemented with Moringa (FM). Juvenile zebrafish were fed experimental diets ad libitum. After a 12 week feeding period, each treatment group was evaluated based on growth and reproductive performance. The M treatment showed the least growth performance (length and weight gain) and no reproductive success (no egg production). Although small, M fish appeared otherwise healthy, with survivorship at ca. 70%, suggesting, Moringa can serve as a single ingredient source for a short period of time. FC showed the highest growth performance, and had the highest reproductive success. Growth performance and reproduction in the Fvm diet was greatly reduced. However, inclusion of Moringa (FM) promoted significant, but not total, recovery of growth and reproductive metrics. These data suggest that Moringa leaves can serve as an acceptable supplement for macro and micronutrients in the diet and could, in part, reduce problems associated with nutrient deficiencies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2013

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  • Journal of Nutritional Ecology and Food Research is an international journal which publishes peer-reviewed articles on food production and consumption, with regard to health, environment, society and economy. The scope is thus broad, articles being focused on significant novel research in human and animal nutrition, food science and technology, food marketing and transportation. In addition, articles on food and identity, agriculture and sustainability, are also welcome. The journal only publishes novel, high quality review papers, original research papers, short communications, concerning all aspects of food and nutrition. It is journal policy to publish special issues on topical and emergent subjects of nutrition and food research or related areas.
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