Aquaculture International

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 261–277 | Cite as

The effects of a conventional feed versus a fish-free feed and biofloc management on the nutritional and human sensory characteristics of shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei)

  • Andrew J. RayEmail author
  • John W. Leffler
  • Craig L. Browdy


Biofloc-based systems use little water and may recycle nutrients through the water column microbial community; fish-free diets may be more ecologically and financially sustainable than traditional feeds. A 12-week study examined the effects of biofloc (solids) management and a fish-free diet on shrimp quality. Four treatments were created; two used a conventional feed (including fishmeal and fish oil), one with solids management (CF-S) and one without (CF), and two treatments used a fish-free feed, one with solids management (FF-S) and one without (FF); each treatment was randomly assigned to four 3600-L tanks. The FF and FF-S shrimp had significantly lower lipid concentration and more manganese. Potassium was higher in CF-S shrimp versus CF; phosphorus was lowest in FF-S shrimp, and FF shrimp had the highest zinc levels. The CF shrimp had significantly higher omega-3s than FF shrimp, although omega-3 levels in FF shrimp were higher than the feed. This, coupled with higher omega-3 levels in the biofloc than the feed, may indicate that shrimp obtained some fatty acids from the biofloc material. The CF-S and FF-S shrimp had significantly greater sweet aromatic aroma, and the FF and FF-S shrimp had significantly higher first bite moisture release, mastication moisture release, and mastication fibrous/stringy texture. These results should be considered to optimize product quality of biofloc-raised shrimp fed fish-free diets.


Shrimp Biofloc Fatty acids Fish-free diets Sensory qualities Product quality 



Arachidonic acid


American Heart Association


Alpha linolenic acid


analysis of variance


American Public Health Association


Conventional feed


Conventional feed with solids management


Docosahexaenoic acid


Deoxyribonucleic acid


Dissolved oxygen


Docosapentaenoic acid n-3


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Environmental Sciences Section, Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene


Fatty acid


Fish-free feed


Feed conversion ratio


Fish-free feed with solids management


Linoleic acid


Linolenic acid






North Carolina State University


Nephelometric turbidity units


Parts per million


Polyvinyl chloride


Revolutions per minute


Statistical Analysis Software


Standard error of the mean


Total ammonia nitrogen


Total suspended solids


United States Department of Agriculture


Volatile suspended solids


Yellow Springs Incorporated



Mention of a trademark or proprietary product is in no way an endorsement of that product or a suggestion of its superiority over other products. This is contribution number 784 from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Resources Research Institute. Thank you to Maggie Holbrook Broadwater, MaryAnne Drake, Kathy Moore, Gloria Seaborn, and the staff of the Waddell Mariculture Center, Bluffton, South Carolina, USA.

Funding information

This research was supported by grants from the USDA Integrated Organic Program and the US Marine Shrimp Farming Program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.


  1. Amaya EA, Davis DA, Rouse DB (2007) Replacement of fish meal in practical diets for the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) reared under pond conditions. Aquaculture 262:393–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. APHA (2005) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 21st edn. American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, and Water Pollution Control Association, Washington, DC, p 1200Google Scholar
  3. Bligh EG, Dyer WJ (1959) A rapid method of total lipid extraction and purification. Can J Biochem Phys 37:911–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Browdy CL, Moss SM (2005) Shrimp culture in urban, super-intensive closed systems. In: Costa Pierce B, Desbonnet A, Edwards P, Baker D (eds) Urban aquaculture. CABI, Oxfordshire, pp 173–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Browdy CL, Seaborn G, Atwood H, Davis DA, Bullis RA, Samocha TM, Wirth E, Leffler JW (2006) Comparison of pond production efficiency, fatty acid profiles, and contaminants in Litopenaeus vannamei fed organic plant-based and fish-meal-based diets. J World Aquacult Soc 37:437–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown MR, Dunstan GA, Norwod SJ, Miller KA (1996) Effects of harvest stage and light on the biochemical composition of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. J Phycol 34:64–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell CR, Plank CO (1992) Sample preparation. In: Plank CO (ed) Plant analysis reference procedures for the southern region of the United States, Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin, vol 368. The Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations, The University of Georgia, Athens, pp 7–11Google Scholar
  8. Clifford HC (1985) Semi-intensive shrimp farming. In: Chamberlain GA, Haby MH, Miget RJ (eds) Texas shrimp farming manual. Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Corpus Christi, pp IV15–IV42Google Scholar
  9. Crab R, Chielens B, Wille M, Bossier P, Verstraete W (2010) The effect of different carbon sources on the nutritional value of bioflocs, a feed for Macrobrachium rosenbergii postlarvae. Aquac Res 41:559–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Craig S, Helfrich L (2017) Understanding fish nutrition, feeds, and feeding. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Publication 420–256. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, BlacksburgGoogle Scholar
  11. De Schryver P, Crab R, Defoirdt T, Boon N, Verstraete W (2008) The basics of bio-flocs technology: the added value for aquaculture. Aquaculture 277:125–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dempster TA, Sommerfeld MR (1998) Effect of environmental conditions on growth and lipid accumulation in Nitzschia communis (Bacillariophyceae). J Phycol 34:712–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Donohue SJ, Aho DW (1992) Determination of P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, Al, B, Cu, and Zn in plant tissue by inductively coupled plasma (ICP) emission spectroscopy. In: Plank CO (ed) Plant analysis reference procedures for the southern region of the United States, Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin, vol 368. The Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations, The University of Georgia, Athens, pp 37–40Google Scholar
  14. Dunstan GA, Volkman JK, Barrett SM, Garland CD (1993) Changes in the lipid composition and maximization of the polyunsaturated fatty acid content of three microalgae grown in mass culture. J Appl Phycol 5:71–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ekasari J, Deasy A, Waluyo SH, Bachtiar T, Surawidjaja EH, Bossier P, De Schryver P (2014) The size of biofloc determines the nutritional composition and the nitrogen recovery by aquaculture animals. Aquaculture 426:105–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. ESS (Environmental Sciences Section), Inorganic Chemistry Unit, Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene (1993) ESS Method 340.2: total suspended solids, mass balance (Dried at 103–105 °C) volatile suspended solids (Ignited at 550 °C). Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  17. Gaona CAP, Poersch LH, Krummenauer D, Foes GK, Wasielesky WJ (2011) The effect of solids removal on water quality, growth, and survival of Litopenaeus vannamei in a biofloc technology culture system. Int J Recirc Aquacult 12:54–73Google Scholar
  18. Gonzalez-Felix ML, Lawrence AL, Gatlin DM, Perez-Velazquez M (2003) Nutritional evaluation of fatty acids for the open thelycum shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei: I. effect of dietary linoleic and linolenic acids at different concentrations and ratios on juvenile shrimp growth, survival and fatty acid composition. Aquacult Nutr 9:105–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gonzalez-Felix ML, Soller F, Davis DA, Samocha TM, Morris T, Wilkenfeld J, Velazquez MP (2010) Replacement of fish oil in plant based diets for Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Aquaculture 309:152–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hootman RC (1992) Manual on descriptive analysis testing for sensory evaluation. American Society for Testing and Materials, BaltimoreCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Isaac RA, Johnson WC Jr (1992) Determination of nitrogen in plant tissue using continuous flow, segmented stream autoanalyzer. In: Plank CO (ed) Plant analysis reference procedures for the southern region of the United States, Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin, vol 368. The Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations, The University of Georgia, Athens, pp 17–19Google Scholar
  22. Kanazawa A, Teshima SI, Ono K (1979) Relationship between essential fatty acid requirement of aquatic animals and the capacity for bioconversion of linolenic acid to highly unsaturated fatty acids. Comp Biochem Physiol 63B:295–298Google Scholar
  23. Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ (2003) Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease, New recommendations from the American Heart Association. Arterioscl Throm Vas 23:151–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kuhn DD, Lawrence AL, Boardman GD, Patnaik S, Marsh L, Flick GJ (2010) Evaluation of two types of bioflocs derived from biological treatment of fish effluent as feed ingredients for Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. Aquaculture 303:28–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li J, Liu G, Li C, Deng Y, Tadda MA, Lan L, Zhu S, Liu D (2018) Effects of different solid carbon sources on water quality, biofloc quality and gut microbiota of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) larvae. Aquaculture 495(1):919–931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. López-Elías JA, Moreno-Arias A, Miranda-Baeza A, Martínez-Córdova LR, Rivas-Vega ME, Márquez-Ríos E (2015) Proximate composition of bioflocs in culture systems containing hybrid red tilapia fed diets with varying levels of vegetable meal inclusion. N Am J Aquac 77(1):102–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ma XN, Chen TP, Yang B, Liu J, Chen F (2016). Lipid production from Nannochloropsis. Mar. Drugs 14(61):1–18Google Scholar
  28. Maret W, Sandstead HH (2006) Zinc requirements and the risks and benefits of zinc supplementation. J Trace Elem Med Biol 20:3–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miget RJ, Haby MG (2007) Naturally-occurring compounds which create unique flavors in wild-harvested shrimp. Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Sea Grant College Program, The Texas A&M University System: TAMU-SG-07-201, College Station, Texas USAGoogle Scholar
  30. Moss SM, Forster IP, Tacon AGJ (2006) Sparing effect of pond water on vitamins in shrimp diets. Aquaculture 258:388–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB (2006) Fish intake, contaminants, and human health, evaluating the risks and the benefits. J Amer Med Assoc 296:1885–1899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Patil V, Källqvist T, Olsen E, Vogt G, Gislerød HR (2007) Fatty acid composition of 12 microalgae for possible use in aquaculture feed. Aquacult Int 15:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pronina NA, Rogova NB, Furnadzhieva S, Klyachkogurvich GL (1998) Effect of CO2 concentration on the fatty acid composition of lipids in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii CIA-3, a mutant deficient in CO2-concentrating mechanism. Russ J Plant Physiol 45:447–455Google Scholar
  34. Ray AJ, Lewis BL, Browdy CL, Leffler JW (2010) Suspended solids removal to improve shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) production and an evaluation of a plant-based feed in minimal exchange, superintensive culture systems. Aquaculture 299:89–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ray AJ, Dillon KS, Lotz JM (2011) Water quality dynamics and shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) production in intensive, mesohaline culture systems with two levels of biofloc management. Aquac Eng 45:127–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ray AJ, Seaborn G, Vinatea L, Browdy CL, Leffler JW (2012) Effects of biofloc reduction on microbial dynamics in minimal-exchange, superintensive shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, culture systems. J World Aquacult Soc 43:790–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shewbart KL, Miles WL (1973) Studies on the nutritional requirements of brown shrimp—the effect of linolenic acid on growth of Penaeus aztecus. J World Aquacult Soc 4(1–4):277–287Google Scholar
  38. Simopoulos AP (2002) The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother 56:365–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Soller F, Rhodes MA, Davis DA (2017) Replacement of fish oil with alternative lipid sources in plant-based practical feed formulations for marine shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) reared in outdoor ponds and tanks. Aquac Nutr 23:63–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sookying D, Davis DA, da Silva FSD (2013) A review of the development and application of soybean-based diets for Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. Aquac Nutr 19:441–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Suarez JA, Gaxiola G, Mendoza R, Cadavid S, Garcia G, Alanis G, Suarez A, Faillace J, Cuzon G (2009) Substitution of fish meal with plant protein sources and energy budget for white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei (Boone, 1931). Aquaculture 289:118–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tacon AGJ, Cody JJ, Conquest LD, Divakaran S, Forster IP, DeCamp OE (2002) Effect of culture system on the nutrition and growth performance of Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei (Boone) fed different diets. Aquac Nutr 8:121–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) (2017) Nutrient Data Laboratory, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. Accessed 5 June 2018
  44. Von Schacky C, Harris WS (2007) Cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Cardiovasc Res 73:310–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wasielesky W Jr, Atwood H, Stokes A, Browdy CL (2006) Effect of natural production in a zero exchange suspended microbial floc based superintensive culture system for white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. Aquaculture 258:396–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wei YF, Shao-An L, An-li W (2016) The effect of different carbon sources on the nutritional composition, microbial community and structure of bioflocs. Aquaculture 465:88–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zhao D, Pan L, Huang F, Wang C, Xu W (2016) Effects of different carbon sources on bioactive compound production of biofloc, immune response, antioxidant level, and growth performance of Litopenaeus vannamei in zero-water exchange culture tanks. J World Aquacult Soc 47:566–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of AquacultureKentucky State University Land Grant ProgramFrankfortUSA
  2. 2.South Carolina Department of Natural ResourcesMarine Resources Research InstituteCharlestonUSA

Personalised recommendations