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All Species Nutrition, Disease

Shrimp probiotic feed – Improving pathogen inhibition

From International Aquafeed

As shrimp farming in the Asia- Pacific region becomes more commercialised, biosecurity is increasingly important. This is because new diseases appear regularly under intensive farming conditions where pathogenic pressure is already high, so the aquaculture industry is focused on developing healthy and clean shrimp production methods while being cost effective. 

Probiotics in shrimp feed are a promising solution, though not without challenges. Asian producers often add probiotics 
to the water or feed at the farm level. Not only cost- and labour-intensive, this technique may also cause inconsistent coating and variable probiotic quality. 

Some farmers target risky periods of hot weather or bacterial outbreak while others administer probiotics throughout the whole cycle. The level of probiotics can vary, as well as the number of feedings per day. Probiotics are also known to dilute in pond water when hand mixed at the farm gate. Consistency is therefore essential.

Figure 1

Top-coated probiotic feed is available on the market, offering nutrition while potentially reducing pathogens and the need to use antibiotics. For example, ADM has invested in automated technology that applies an industrial coating of live probiotics post-pelleting. This ensures stability (Figure 1), homogeneity and quality of the functional feed product.

Probiotics in feed are applied in spore or asleep form. When exposed in water, the spores wake up and change into active form. ADM’s Ocialis product activates in the shrimp gut from one to three hours, which aligns with shrimp digestion periods. 

ADM’s formula combines a strong probiotic strain with a blend of feed additives and ingredients that supports gut microflora to improve gut health, enhance immunity and inhibit pathogen bacteria such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio harveyi.

The formulation was developed following over three years of research and development, including in vitro and in vivo trials. 
Experimental culture results showed that in ponds with continuous use of probiotic feed, Vibrio populations in the hepatopancreas were better controlled, and no intestinal diseases such as hepatopancreatic disease and white faeces syndrome were present. 

The benefits of probiotic feed 
At the farm level, shrimp producers can immediately see the benefits of probiotic feed in good hepatopancreas color (Photo 1) and a healthy shrimp gut. Additionally, trials show that probiotics can improve shrimp growth (Figure 2). 

Figure 2

As the research demonstrates, probiotics can potentially reduce pathogens in the shrimp gut. Feedback from Asian farmers has been positive, though greater acceptance of such an innovation will take time and a full vision of product performance.

Probiotics as a functional feed solution can also be applied to fish feed. It’s important to note that aquaculture production is very diverse. To be most effective, functional feeds and services must be customised to the specific industrial and environmental conditions of the local market.

ADM also state that not all products are available in all regions and the company makes no representation or warranty, whether expressed or implied, as to the reliability or completeness of the information. The uses and claims should be adapted to comply to the current local/regional regulatory environment. This information does not imply any express recommendations for the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. 

First published on International Aquafeed (

International AquafeedAugust 23, 2021
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