Date: 25/10/2022

Shrimp feed attractability and palatability are two very important aspects for a qualified nutrition, since it’s needed to offer feed with balanced formulation that meets the nutritional needs of each species and also that is palatable and attractive for the animal, because if the crustaceans doesn't accept the food, their consumption will diminish, leading to a nutritional deficiency and consequent damages to the species. These aspects are responsible for food search and behavior, and are important for all aquatic organisms cultivated, specially for more food selective species.

It’s noteworthy that more palatable foods are also more attractive and, therefore, are more eaten by the animals. However, the opposite is also true - when the feed is not palatable, animals eat less and it tends to affect the overall growth of the shrimps, aggravating zootechnical characteristics. Besides, leftovers of non-digested feed can affect the water of the cultivation.

Talking specifically about shrimps, palatability is even more important, considering that these animals use chemoreception and chemical detection of products spreaded through the water to explore the surroundings, allowing them a variety of information that influences their behavior, including their feeding habits.

Shrimps food consumption can be affected by some chemical substances that stimulate different stages of their eating habits, like detection, search and ingestion, making it indispensable that the responsible nutritionist take into account the ingredients present in the feed formulation, considering choosing chemical attractive ingredients and including specific chemical clues that are rapidly recognized as food source and, hence, initiate the shrimps feeding process.

Throughout this article, we will talk more about the influence that palatability makes upon shrimp feeding diets and how to make better use of the feed nutrients. You will also know more about some ingredients that can elevate food palatability, thus helping in shrimp farming food management.

Shrimp feeding and nourishment

Aquaculture feeding must have a balanced nutritive composition and also be attractive for the animals. However, the amount of proteins, lipids and amide present in food is relative - this happens not only because there are several species with different life cycles, but also considering aspects like the location of the animal cultive and environmental restrictions, i.e.

One of the difficulties that occurs in shrimp feeding is the adequate food management - in other words, the moment and the quantity of feed that is given to the animals. In cultive operations, feed must be given exclusively in feed trays that are immersed in water and should also be inspected frequently, which allows estimation of how the food is being consumed by the animal population.

When food management isn’t done properly, or when it uses low quality feed, an excess of food can occur. This can lead to economic loss, low growth rates and reduce water quality. High amounts of feed can also be a perfect place for rise of diseases and even cause the death of the whole cultivation population.

The inadequate use of non consumed feed can also cause an accumulation of waste at the bottom of the nursery. This can stimulate phytoplankton multiplication in the water and bacteria activity, increasing oxygen consumption and, consequently, reducing the tank support capacity. Organic degradation processes can also limit how animals absorb nutrients and lead to eutrophication of the cultivation ambient and its surroundings. With that said, it’s clear the producers need to find a food source that has not only high palatability and attractiveness for an adequate consumption, but also when it comes to the financial and productive impacts.

Shrimps are also highly exigent of proteins: about 70% of their metabolism use the substance (Soares, 2019). The most different aspect of crustaceans' nitrogenous organic composition is the presence of high concentrations of amino acids, many times more than what is found in vertebrates, with prevailing substances like glycine, proline, alanine and arginine. It is therefore necessary that the feed chosen for the shrimps is one of high quality, with great chemical and nutritional composition, as well as for organoleptic aspects like its palatability.

Palatable and attractive ingredients for shrimp feed

In commercial feeds for aquatic organisms, conventionally, fish meal has been the protein basis, providing about 50% of the total protein due to its nutritional components and high palatability. However, fish meal has been more and more recognized for its high cost and danger to the environment.

Since fish meal has become more expensive and less available in the industry, producers had to face the challenge and started to look for alternative ingredients for aquaculture that can keep the ideal protein levels, have high palatability, give satisfactory growth results and improve the crustaceans' zootechnical characteristics.

While that was happening, the industry changed its focus, aiming to offer other options of ingredients and also making them more accessible, with newer and more economic elements, with higher availability and standardization for a whole year of use - thus lowering costs and increasing profitability.

Several protein based foods can be used as alternatives for fish meal in shrimp feed formulations. A great source of protein is soy and its derivatives, specially the soy bran. As for animal protein sources, there are protein sources like flours and processed remains of animals, like bone and meat flours, blood flour, chicken gut flour, fish silage, among others. Within this vast array of foods, protein hydrolysate has been delivering great results both as scientific evidence and in industry inclusion on animal diets.

Recent scientific researches show us that byproducts of chicken slaughtery are viable and interesting alternatives, since they are vastly available in the industry and also with a great cost-effectiveness. Not only that, but these products have easily digestible proteins, rich in amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Usage of these processed foods made with waste of chicken slaughter is also beneficial to the environment - by using material that was going to be thrown away - and to the aggregated value of the byproducts used in its composition, within an integrated productive chain that targets quality, efficiency and sustainability.

Protein Hydrolysate as alternative for shrimp farming

Protein hydrolysates have functional properties that ensure better appearance, texture, flavor and convenience to the feed. Bioactive peptides present in Protein Hydrolysates can enhance ingredient absorption, as well as benefit the immune system and antioxidant activity, contributing for a healthier growth and increasing the animals survival rate.

In a research done by Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), it was found that protein hydrolysates generated by chicken and pig byproducts are excellent sources of protein for sea shrimp (L. vannamei) feeding, being able to be included in small concentrations of the crustaceans diet - up to 25% of replacement - favoring better zootechnical performance for that species.

One of the solutions found by the Animal Nutrition industry is the BRF Ingredients BioActio Health & Performance Chicken Protein Hydrolysate, a product with great biological value, rich in bioactive peptides that help the animals digestive system and, because of that, is an alternative for aquaculture nutrition with scientifically proven results, as well as its cost-effectiveness between aggregated value to the cultivated animals and the return of investment for the producers.

BRF Ingredients BioActio Health & Performance Chicken Protein Hydrolysate has many benefits for shrimps, delivering better food conversion and survival rates, rich in proteins, a balanced amino acid profile and high attractivity - a result of its palatable ingredients.

Another feature of the protein hydrolysates made with chicken byproducts is to enhance animal digestibility rates, being one of the best alternatives for replacing conventional food for fish diets and also being able to improve feeding performance in aquaculture.

In a recent test made by the partnership between BRF Ingredients and the Vietnamese University, it was found that the inclusion of BRF Ingredients BioActio Health & Performance Chicken Protein Hydrolysate into the shrimp feeding diet resulted in an improvement of 4% in the animals final weight, 8% better food conversion rate and 6% more productivity - which shows an overall increase in shrimp performance. Besides, the test also showed that the ingestion of BioActio Health & Performance in early life stages of the shrimps resulted in a higher survival rate of the crustaceans.

These data show that standardization of the hydrolysis processes and the protein hydrolysates products must be achieved so that the results used in animal nutrition can be replicated. With that being said, protein hydrolysates fabricated by major companies of the industry, like BRF Ingredients (which works with generation of value in its byproducts, excellency in control of raw material quality and the subsequent processes applied to the protein sources), can offer products with greater quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness for producers working in the Animal Nutrition industry.

Important results from research and development have been already done and prove that the utilization of BioActio Health & Performance Chicken Protein Hydrolysate in animal nutrition enhances zootechnical levels for shrimps and tilapias, when introduced into the animals diets throughout their different life stages.


Animal nutrition is a challenge to shrimp farming, since most cultivated species feedings have nutritional, attractivity and palatability needs. This happens because shrimp feeding behavior needs to be stimulated in their chemoreceptors, so that search and consumption of food occurs - thus the need for a feed that has high palatability and attractivity in their diet.

As all the data above has shown, as producers and scientists began searching for ways to replace fish meal, they found out that protein hydrolysate made from animal byproducts was an alternative for feeding aquatic animals. Since it is highly digestible, nutritive, attractive and palatable, Chicken Protein Hydrolysate can be a great option to be incorporated into animal food and feed formulations.

Among all protein hydrolysates, BioActio Health & Performance Chicken Protein Hydrolysate (a.k.a. CPH) is a feed rich in bioactive peptides that delivers scientifically proven results. BRF Ingredients CPH usage has already demonstrated it enhances metabolism and survival rates, as well as help health maintenance of the aquatic animals and being an eco-friendly product, since it is made through enzymatic hydrolysis from byproducts originated by chicken slaughter waste, helping reduce the amount of residues that would eventually impact the environment.