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Novel protein shown to boost shrimp survival

Rob Fletcher
Rob Fletcher
14 September 2017, at 8:54am

A diet containing a novel single-celled protein developed by KnipBio has been shown to increase survival rates of post-larval Pacific white shrimp by at least 30 percent.

Five feed trials suggest that shrimp fed diets including the Massachusetts company's KnipBio Meal (KBM) have significantly higher survival rates when compared to those fed a standard commercial fishmeal-based diet.  

The first trial was conducted at Roger Williams University. In the test, the shrimp were separated into a control group fed a commercial diet containing menhaden fishmeal and an experimental group fed a diet where half of the fishmeal was replaced by KBM. At the end of 42 days the researchers observed a 35% decreased mortality in the experimental shrimp population compared to the control group.   

Two additional feed trials were conducted at a US university recognized for its warm-water aquaculture research. The first consisted of a control group and two experimental groups fed varying ratios of fishmeal and KBM. The control population again received a diet with fishmeal, the first experimental group was given a diet in which 50% of the fishmeal was replaced by KBM, and the second experimental group was fed a diet with all of the fishmeal replaced by KBM. After 42 days, both experimental groups showed a 30% increase in population survival compared to the commercial diet. 

The other trial consisted of a control group and four experimental groups fed a diet containing varying ratios of fishmeal and KBM. After six weeks, all four experimental populations experienced significantly higher survivability levels compared to the control. Some of the experimental groups saw an increase in survivability from 40% to 100% compared to the control group.  

Meanwhile two shrimp survivability trials were conducted at a scientific research facility in Asia with industry-leading expertise in shrimp disease challenges. The experiments were designed to test whether a diet containing KBM could improve survivability in a shrimp population that has been exposed to Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS, also known as Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome). The shrimp in the experimental populations were fed differing amount of KBM as a replacement for either fishmeal or soy protein concentrate. 

After 14 days the shrimp were exposed to the EMS-causing pathogen, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. At the end of the trial a 30-46% increase in survivability was observed for the shrimp fed KBM compared to the control groups fed a standard commercial diet. Across all experimental groups, shrimp fed KBM diets consistently scored better than the controls in histological analyses of the disease pathology using the G-grading system. 

Larry Feinberg, CEO of KnipBio, stated: “While these tests are preliminary, we are pleased with the results we are seeing. Taken together, these trials appear to indicate a diet containing KnipBio Meal offers significant survivability advantages over standard commercial shrimp diet formulas under normal conditions as well as in populations undergoing disease stress. We intend to conduct extensive additional experimental trials to confirm these findings, to understand the mechanisms at work, and to determine the optimum KBM substitution rate to both improve survivability and maximize feed conversion.

“We believe shrimp aquaculture represents a significant market opportunity for KnipBio Meal. More than $20 billion of farm-raised shrimp are sold each year across the world and the market is growing significantly. KnipBio Meal offers a responsible way to support this market with a sustainable alternative protein source that does not depend on dwindling wild forage fish as an input, potentially improving yield and profitability for aquaculturists."