- Determination of physical behaviour of feed pellets in Mediterranean water doi link

Auteur(s): Vassallo P., Doglioli A.(Corresp.), Rinaldi F., Besio I.

(Article) Publié: Aquaculture Research, vol. 37 p.119-126 (2006)

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2109.2005.01403.x

Settled uneaten feed causes the most intense impact under sea cages, and settling velocity of the feed pellets represents a key parameter for waste dispersion models. Even if some data about physical properties of feed pellets have been published in the framework of salmonid rearing, there is a complete lack of information related to the Mediterranean Sea, as regards typical values of temperature, salinity and feed composition for Gilthead Sea Bream (Sparus aurata L.) and Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.). In this study we try to fill this lack, determining dimensions, water adsorption properties, floating times and settling velocities of a typical growing sequence of pellets for the species mentioned above, under defined laboratory conditions reproducing Mediterranean Sea water. The settling velocity increases with pellet size from 0.087, for the smallest pellet (3 mm), to 0.144 m s−1, for the 5 mm pellet. The biggest extruded pellet (6 mm) falls slower (0.088 m s−1). The floating time before pellet's fall is found to be a critical parameter in determining settling velocity. The latter depends on pellet's size, water temperature and salinity. The examined pellets reach a 42% of weight increase after 10 min of immersion, while no appreciable dimension change is observed. Our results are in part different from previous ones and could play a role in evaluating and modelling Mediterranean aquaculture environmental impact.