Shrimp is a favorite food for many. An affordable seafood that comes in many shapes and sizes, shrimp are valued in both hot and cold dishes, entrees and appetizers. Everyone knows that the quality and nutrition of shrimp affects the taste, especially aquaculture experts.
So how do “shrimp farmers” ensure the health and nutrition of their production to ensure that “farm to table” quality tastes restaurants and retailers desire? Here are five facts you didn’t know about shrimp nutrition from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Proteins are an essential part of living cells and a significant part of aquatic life as a whole. Proteins make up the bulk of muscles, internal organs, the brain, nerves, and skin. Much of the knowledge for aquaculture shrimp is based on studies conducted on Chinook salmon which were fed high-quality protein such as gelatin mixtures with supplements. Shrimp seemed to thrive with a high dietary protein requirement ranging from 24-57% of their diet.
- Amino Acids
Amino acids have both acid and base properties which allow them to act as buffers in the body against changing pH. There are over 100 amino acids, and 25 of these are commonly found in protein. Necessary for different body metabolisms, it is recommended that shrimp get:
Lipids provide metabolic energy and are the most energy-rich of all types of nutrients. In addition, lipids help feed pellets by reducing dustiness. While there have been multiple specific studies on fish, there is currently no firm guidelines on the type and quantity of lipid best for either marine shrimp or freshwater prawns.
Carbohydrates include compounds like glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, starch, glycogen, chitin, and cellulose. There is no known absolute dietary requirement for carbohydrates for shrimp to date. Yet, there is definitely a need for carbohydrates in the diet as glucose is a proven energy source for the brain and nerve tissue and chitin creates the exoskeleton of crustaceans. Most feeds will include carbohydrates in the mix.
Vitamins provide additional shrimp nutrients in the form of fat and water-soluble compounds. Shrimp have been shown to consume their feed slowly, requiring higher dietary vitamin levels so that all the nutrients are leached away (water-soluble) during the period of hours before it is consumed. The composition of the water where the shrimp live can also affect the vitamin needs of your food product. Vitamins necessary for growth will often include:
- Nicotinic Acid
- Folic Acid
- Pantothenic Acid
- Ascorbic Acid
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin A
Check guidelines based on your specific species being cultivated as well as test result from the aquatic environment of your shrimp.
Cultivating quality shrimp that restauranteurs and retailers will want depends on a high-quality operation with proper nutrition and setup. Make sure you are providing all the nutrition needed for this aquaculture setting including the right mix of protein, lipids, amino acids, carbohydrates, and vitamins in your feed. Ensure your feed range is accessible and clean providing the right food at the right time for growth and accessibility. Always check with the experts for species-specific questions to tailor your nutrition needs to the right variety of your cultivation. With the right feed at the right time, you’ll definitely see results.