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Your Trace Mineral Choices May Be Limiting Shrimp Performance and Health

6 minute read

Trace minerals like zinc, manganese, selenium and copper are essential for aquaculture species, impacting performance and product quality. The symptoms caused by trace minerals deficiency include, but are not limited to: 

  • Reduced growth and feed efficiency 
  • Weaker immune response and chronic inflammation 
  • Skin and skeletal abnormalities 
  • Impaired wound healing 
  • Cataracts  
  • Poor fertility and eggs hatchability   

Among the trace minerals, zinc is recognized to benefit shrimp beyond growth and performance, contributing to several metabolic activities as illustrated below. 

Mineral Bioavailability Key to Overcoming Zinc Deficiency 

There are several causes of a zinc deficiency,  

  • Malnutrition  
  • Illness and/or infection reduce zinc bioavailability 
  • Reduced zinc content in the diet due to fishmeal replacement  
  • Anti-nutritional factors from plant proteins, like phytic acid, which may bind trace minerals like zinc and make them less available for absorption

A 1995 study by Paripatananont and Lovell was the first to demonstrate that ZINPRO® zinc methionine complex was three to five times more bioavailable than inorganic zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) in meeting growth requirements of channel catfish fed purified and practical diets containing phytic acid. 

Davis et al. (1993) reported that L. vanammei required 33 ppm of zinc to maintain normal growth and maximize zinc concentrations in hepatopancreas. In the same study, supplementation with 200 ppm of inorganic zinc was required to overcome depressed zinc bioavailability caused by phytates and reestablish zinc levels in hepatopancreas back to that observed in diets without phytate. 

When supplemented in shrimp diets, Zinpro® Performance Minerals® have an absorption advantage over inorganic minerals because they are minimally antagonized by dietary components like phytic acid and utilize the amino acid transporters instead of the common metal transporters. 

Zinpro Performance Minerals Improve Growth Performance in Shrimp 

Two more recent studies have demonstrated how adjusting the level and source of zinc and other trace minerals in practical L. vannamei diets influences growth, health and final product quality. 

  • Study I compared growth performance, immune status and meat quality response to partial or complete replacement of inorganic zinc with zinc from Zinpro® Availa® Zn (ZnAA at one-half the rate); (Ningbo University, China; Yuan et al, 2020).  
  • Study II,  compared growth performance, immune status and meat quality response to partial or complete replacement of inorganic mineral sources of zinc, manganese, copper, iron and selenium with organic trace minerals from Zinpro (Zinpro Availa Zn, Zinpro® Availa® Mn, Zinpro® Availa® Cu, Zinpro® Availa® Fe and Zinpro® Availa® Se at half the rate); (Kasetsart University, Thailand; Jintasataporn et al, 2015). 

Study I showed that zinc supplementation significantly improved growth and feed conversion rate (FCR)(Figure 1, Study I). Supplementation of 60 ppm from Zinpro Availa Zn resulted in similar growth and FCR compared to diet supplemented with 120 ppm of zinc sulfate, proven that Zinpro Performance Minerals is a more effective source of zinc. The most efficient FCR was achieved combining 60 ppm of zinc from Zinpro Availa Zn with 60 ppm of from zinc sulfate, indicating that higher zinc supplementation levels may be required to maximize shrimp performance. 

In Study II, replacing 50% the inorganic mineral premix (sulfates) by Zinpro Performance Minerals resulted in a numerically higher final body weight and 8.3% lower FCR (Figure 1, Study II). Return on investment (ROI), measured by additional income over feed cost, was 16% higher for shrimp fed Zinpro Performance Minerals compared to inorganic minerals. 

Figure 1.Study I, Effect of Zn level and source on shrimp feed conversion ratio (FCR); Study II, Effect of inorganic mineral replacement by Zinpro Performance Minerals on shrimp FCR. 

Shrimp Health Status Improved by Zinpro Performance Minerals 

Zinc supplementation in practical shrimp diets significantly enhanced antioxidant capacity and immune-related enzymes. Activity of hemolymph phenoloxidase — a crucial component of the shrimp immune system — significantly increased when zinc sulfate was partially or completely replaced with zinc from Zinpro Availa Zn (Figure 2, Study I). In addition, the hepatopancreas antioxidant capacity and immune-related enzyme activity was higher in shrimp that were fed a combination of zinc sulfate and zinc from Zinpro Availa Zn at one-half the rate (60 ppm Zn as ZnAA) of inorganic (120 ppm). 

Partial or complete replacement of an inorganic mineral premix with zinc, manganese, copper, iron and selenium from Zinpro Performance Minerals improved shrimp immune status, as indicated by the increased hemocyte count and phenoloxidase activity (Figure 2, Study II). Importantly, the cumulative mortality of shrimp challenged with Vibrio harveyi was significantly reduced when the mineral inorganic premix was partially or completed replaced with performance trace minerals as illustrated below. 

Figure 2. Study I, Effect of Zn level and source on shrimp health biomarkers and mortality rate. Study II, Effect of zinc, manganese, copper, iron and selenium from Zinpro Performance Minerals on shrimp survival after Vibrio Harveyi challenge.  

Trace Minerals Proven to Reduce Shrimp Drip and Thaw Loss 

In both studies, level and source of trace minerals had a significant effect on shrimp quality, namely drip and thaw loss. Supplementation of zinc from Zinpro Availa Zn in combination with zinc sulfate — or at one-half the rate of inorganic — significantly reduced drip loss in muscle and thawing loss in whole shrimp (Figure 3, Study I). 

Moreover, partial or complete inorganic mineral premix replacement with performance trace minerals also reduced drip loss of peeled shrimp four days post-refrigeration (Figure 3, Study II). 

Figure 3. Effect of trace mineral levels and source on shrimp quality 

Zinpro Performance Minerals: The Best Choice for Optimizing Shrimp Performance 

Supplementing 60 ppm of zinc from performance trace minerals in shrimp diets alone or in combination with other trace mineral amino acid complexes proved to be an efficient approach in promoting shrimp growth, antioxidant capacity, immune response and product quality. 

The unrivaled absorption of Zinpro Performance Minerals optimizes feed efficiency, leading to a more cost-efficient production of shrimp while decreasing nutrient excretion into the environment, making it a more sustainable choice as well. 

To learn more about including zinc from Zinpro Performance Minerals in your shrimp nutrition program, contact your Zinpro representative today