Aquaculture for all

Study suggests fungal protein improves shrimp growth and health

Shrimp Feed ingredients Health +3 more

A new study shows that shrimp fed diets in which fishmeal is partially replaced by Enifer’s PekiloAqua mycoprotein grow faster and are healthier than those given conventional feeds.

A pile of feed pellets.
Shrimp feed containing EniferBio's PekiloAqua

© EniferBio

Finnish biotech startup Enifer has published a new study, conducted by independent study partner AquaBioTech Group, about the impact of using PekiloAqua mycoprotein in shrimp feed.

Currently, most shrimp get roughly 10 percent of their protein from fishmeal. However, almost 90 percent of global marine fish stocks are now fully exploited or overfished and the shrimp feed industry is the largest single user of fishmeal, so many researchers and entrepreneurs are looking to develop alternatives.

After the eight week trial the researchers found that the overall mortality rate was notably reduced in shrimp fed the PekiloAqua diet. The survival rate increased from 74 percent to 85 percent among shrimp consuming the 30 percent PekiloAqua diet. Additionally, following carcass analysis, it was observed that the crude protein content was significantly higher (2.5 percent) in the PekiloAqua-fed group compared to those fed diets containing higher levels of fishmeal.

Shrimp have an innate immune system but no adaptive immune system, meaning they cannot be vaccinated. To make shrimp more resistant to diseases, their immune systems must be stimulated periodically or constantly with separately added compounds. PekiloAqua already includes immune-enhancing compounds like beta-glucan and nucleotides, which makes it a great feed for disease-prone shrimp as they can build immune cells faster without damaging the shrimp’s energy reserves.

The results also showed that PekiloAqua contributes to improved shrimp growth without an increase in feed intake. Additionally, in addition to nucleotides, PekiloAqua contains another shrimp growth-enhancing compound, spermine.

“Our findings highlight the potential benefits of incorporating PekiloAqua into the diets of whiteleg shrimp for improved health, growth, and protein content. This research has important implications for sustainable and health-improving shrimp farming practices,” said Heikki Keskitalo, business development manager and co-founder of Enifer, in a press release.

The world has seen significant growth in the shrimp industry over the last decade, but studies conducted with farmers show that they struggle with rising feed costs, market prices, diseases, and broodstock quality. Addressing these issues is crucial for the long-term sustainability of shrimp farming. PekiloAqua not only delivers better performance in shrimp health and growth, but it can also be locally produced with minimal land use and water consumption using upcycled sidestreams of several industries, making it an environmentally friendly option.

Find the whole study results here.

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