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Upgrading the Aquaculture Nutrition Toolbox with Zinpro® Chromium Methionine

5 minute read

The aquaculture industry has been facing critical challenges trying to maintain high-performance while achieving cost-effectiveness and sustainability goals. Plant-based and alternative ingredients have successfully reduced the industry’s reliance on fishmeal, enabling the development of more affordable and/or eco-friendly feeds. However, this shift can also lead to increased dietary carbohydrate content and nutritional risks for key essential nutrients. 

 As ingredient supply and costs fluctuate unpredictably, finding solutions that enhance formulation flexibility becomes imperative. In this article we present the benefits of supplementing aquafeeds with Zinpro® chromium methionine* as a strategic tool to boost carbohydrate (CHO) utilization with direct impact in feed efficiency, health and profitability. 

* Zinpro® Chromium Methionine is commercialized under the product names of Zinpro® Availa® Cr and Zinpro® MICROPLEX® depending on the country.    

Glucose Metabolism: A Key Limitation in Fish Nutrition

Fish, especially carnivorous species, exhibit limited ability to utilize dietary carbohydrates compared to land animals. This limitation stems from their unique glucose metabolism, that due to several factors prevent a more efficient utilization of dietary carbohydrates, even when formulating feeds with highly digestible CHO sources (Figure 1).  

Figure 1. Summary of main biological limitations for carbohydrate utilization in carnivorous fish (adapted from Karmalan et al, 2017).

The Relevance of Chromium and Carbohydrate Nutrition in Aquafeeds

Chromium (Cr) is a trace element usually found in two forms:  

  • Hexavalent chromium (Cr+6): Highly toxic and carcinogenic, not commonly found in nature, it’s produced and used in several different industrial applications from steel production to painting and textiles.  
  • Trivalent chromium (Cr+3): Low toxicity and nontoxic when ingested in small amounts. Cr3+ is essential to human nutrition and is the chromium form found in foods and dietary supplements. Chromium as a nutritional supplement can be found in its inorganic form or complexed with organic acids or amino acids.   

Cr plays a crucial role in the nutrition of aquatic species, as it specifically affects the utilization of dietary CHO. Cr supplementation impacts insulin sensitivity by increasing receptor binding ability and number of receptors, intracellular insulin signaling and translocation of glucose transporters. Supplementation also may augment protein synthesis by promoting anabolic responses in skeletal muscles, as well as decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine blood levels, oxidative stress and lipid levels. 

Carbohydrate levels in commercial aquafeeds usually range from 15% to 45% and inclusion of starch sources are required to achieve optimal extrusion and pelleting process, assuring high feed water stability and proper physical characteristics. Optimizing CHO utilization remains crucial for improving precision nutrition and economic success in aquaculture. 

Proven Benefits of Zinpro Chromium Methionine in Aquaculture Nutrition

Chromium, in the form of Zinpro Chromium Methionine, offers a promising solution to aquaculture nutritionists with proven benefits on enhancing glucose metabolism, improving nutrient retention, and reducing stress levels. As the industry seeks innovative tools to address formulation challenges, this trace element emerges as a valuable addition to the aquaculture nutrition toolbox.  

Zinpro has accomplished more than 13 studies across 9 different aquaculture species with consistent improvements in different key areas. Some highlights are presented below:    

  • Optimized Glucose Metabolism: Common carp, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, gilthead seabream and shrimp exhibit upregulated glycolysis, indicating improved glucose utilization. 
  • Improved Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) and Specific Growth Rate (SGR): Across all species, Zinpro Chromium Methionine enhances feed efficiency by at least 5%, leading to better growth outcomes. 
  • Efficient Nutrient Retention: Increased nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) retention in Atlantic salmon and gilthead seabream can contribute to more sustainable aquaculture practices. Furthermore, a positive impact was observed in fillet yield.  
  • Stress Reduction: Cortisol levels decrease in common carp, indicating reduced stress, a critical factor for overall health and performance. 
  • Enhanced Survival Rates during Nursery Phase: Pangasius, a valuable aquaculture species, benefits from improved survival rates when fed with Zinpro Chromium Methionine. 

Elevating Animal Nutrition Potential: Unlocking Untapped Gains in Feed Efficiency

Chromium supplementation value isn’t just about reducing feed costs, it’s about enhancing the animal’s potential to unlock untapped gains in your feed, achieve cost-effective performance while optimizing profitability and fostering a more sustainable future for our industry. 

Let’s Partner 

To learn more about Zinpro Chromium Methionine or how you can include Zinpro® Performance Minerals® in your fish and shrimp diets, contact your Zinpro representative today.