Nutritional evaluation of solar dried sardines as a ruminant protein supplement

R. J. Early*, O. Mahgoub, C. D. Lu, A. Ritchie, A. S. Al-Halhali, K. Annamalai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Solar dried sardines of various qualities were analyzed for nutrient content and for nutrient digestibility and nitrogen balance in sheep. Additionally, key serum enzymes and metabolites were examined to identify potential toxic effects. Dried sardine protein, ether extract and crude ash content ranged from 65 to 39%, 5.7 to 5.1%, and 22 to 51%, respectively, for high to low quality dried sardines. Visual appraisal of the dried sardines did not appear to be very reliable for determining dried sardine quality. Crude protein content was highly correlated (r2 = 0.962) with crude ash content based on the following equation (dry matter basis): crude protein% = 86.0 - (0.961 × crude ash%). Therefore, crude ash could be used to estimate crude protein content and dried sardine quality. Digestibility in Omani sheep was determined on diets composed of a composite of dried sardines collected from Al-Batinah region of the Sultanate (the average crude protein content was 51%) and compared to that of a similar diet using soybean meal (also 51% crude protein) as the major protein source. The digestibility of crude protein, ether extract, total carbohydrates, digestible energy and metabolizable energy in diets utilizing dried sardines versus the soybean meal diet were 74 versus 76%, 69 versus 68%, 67 versus 69%, 64 versus 66%, and 52 versus 56%, respectively. Although, protein digestibility was similar, nitrogen balance data suggested that nitrogen in the dried sardine diet was not as efficiently utilized as nitrogen in the soybean meal diet. Key serum enzymes and metabolites did not suggest that dried sardines at 10% of the total dietary intake would cause metabolic disturbances in sheep. The study suggests that solar dried sardines may be effectively used in ruminant diets but may not have the protein by-pass value of commercial, processed fish meals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalSmall Ruminant Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Digestibility
  • Dried sardines
  • Omani sheep
  • Protein supplements
  • Serum chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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