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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)

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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.

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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


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Statistical Analysis Software


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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.


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

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Correspondence to Andrew J. Ray.

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Ray, A.J., Leffler, J.W. & Browdy, C.L. 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). Aquacult Int 27, 261–277 (2019).

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