A feeding trial was conducted to study the effects of graded levels (0, 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000 FTU kg-1) of microbial phytase on growth performance and nutrient digestibilityof Cirrhinus mrigala fingerlings fed sunflower meal based diet. The chromic oxide was added as inert marker in the diets. Three replicate groups of 15 fish (Average weight 5.05±0.013 g fish-1) were fed at the rate of 5% of live wet weigh and feces were collected twice daily. The results of present study showed improved growth performance of Cirrhinus mrigala fingerlings in response to phytase supplementation. Maximum growth performance was observed by the fish group fed on test diet-III having 1000 FTU kg-1 level. Similarly, nutrient digestibility was also significantly increased (p<0.05) by 1000 FTU kg-1 level of phytase supplementation. Digestibility coefficients for sunflower meal based diet increased 15.76%, 17.70% and 12.70% for crude protein, crude fat and apparent gross energy as compared to the reference diet, respectively at 1000 FTU kg-1 level. It was concluded that the phytase supplementation to sunflower meal based diet at 1000 FTU kg-1 level is optimum to release adequate chelated nutrients for maximum growth performance of C. mrigala fingerlings. Our results also suggested that phytase supplementation to sunflower meal based diet can help in the development of sustainable aquaculture by reducing the feed cost and nutrient discharge through feces into the aquatic ecosystem.
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