DOST-PCAARRD, in partnership with the University of the Philippines Visayas-National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (UPV-NIMBB) conducted a feeding trial wherein the project team supplemented benfotiamine in the tilapia’s diet. Benfotiamine is a derivative of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) which improves carbohydrate utilization in diabetic human subjects. Since most, if not all, aquatic animals are variably unable to utilize high dietary carbohydrates, addition of benfotiamine to the diet of fishes is hypothesized to make feeds cheaper by replacing a considerable amount of dietary proteins with carbohydrates. Through this study, it was documented that the growth, efficiency of nutrient utilization and whole-body lipid and protein deposition in both tilapia and milkfish were better in groups fed dietary benfotiamine than in those fed with no supplementation. When examined at the molecular level, dietary benfotiamine caused the process of breaking down carbohydrate and its products in the body of fish faster than did the diets with no benfotiamine supplementation.
Pilot tests were done in cages in fishpond to document the growth performance of both the Nile tilapia and milkfish and their profitabilities when benfotiamine was added in a high carbohydrate diet resulted to increased profit of Php232.46/cage in tilapia and PhP149.56/cage in milkfish.