The effect of organic and conventional production methods on sea bream growth, health and body composition: a field experiment


  • Eleni Mente School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, University of Thessaly - School of Biological Sciences (Zoology), University of Aberdeen
  • Alexandros Stratakos School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, University of Thessaly
  • Ioannis S. Boziaris School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, University of Thessaly
  • Konstantinos A. Kormas School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, University of Thessaly
  • Vasileios Karalazos School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, University of Thessaly
  • Ioannis T. Karapanagiotidis School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, University of Thessaly
  • Vassiliki A. Catsiki Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
  • Leondios Leondiadis National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”



sustainable, organic, sea bream aquaculture


This study aimed to develop a better understanding of organic sea bream aquaculture production in Greece, in particular its consequences for fish growth, health and body composition, and to propose and update standards for sustainable organic sea bream farming. Gilthead sea bream were kept in sea cages at densities of 4 kg m–3 (organic) and 15 kg m–3 (conventional), and were fed organically produced feed (45% crude protein, 14% fat) or conventional feed (46% crude protein, 17% fat). The amino acid profile of the conventional diet, particularly the lysine content, which is one of most important dietary amino acids for sea bream, appeared to be unsatisfactory. “Organic” sea bream stored less fat content in their white muscle than the conventional sea bream. The liver lipid content was lower and the hepatosomatic index was higher for the organic sea bream. The microbiological analysis showed that both Enterobacteriaceae and Escherichia coli on the skin were below the enumeration detection limit in both the organic and conventional sea bream. Total viable counts on the skin and muscle of both the organically and conventionally cultured sea bream were approximately 3 log cfu g –1, which is well below the acceptable limit (7 log cfu g–1) for marine species. The results showed that the combination of a low stocking density and feed with a different ingredient composition but similar nutritional value resulted in similar growth rates and nutrient profiles of the final product. Further research on nutrition is required to provide information on setting the appropriate standards for organic sea bream aquaculture to ensure that the final product is in line with the consumers’ preferences.


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How to Cite

Mente E, Stratakos A, Boziaris IS, Kormas KA, Karalazos V, Karapanagiotidis IT, Catsiki VA, Leondiadis L. The effect of organic and conventional production methods on sea bream growth, health and body composition: a field experiment. Sci. mar. [Internet]. 2012Sep.30 [cited 2024Apr.16];76(3):549-60. Available from: