Compared with other aquatic species, formulating shrimp feed is based more on experience then on exact science. The optimal nutrient profile of a shrimp feed will depend on many factors, including the culture density, environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, oxygen, etc.), productivity of the pond water, the stability of the feed, feeding method and frequency, etc . These factors often are different depending on the season, region, farm or even pond which makes the selection of the ideal feed rather a complex and often unstable decision for the farmer. As a result, research in optimizing feed formulations under practical conditions continues to be a major objective for feed producers. Also, we can expect a wide variety in nutritional specifications among commercial shrimp feeds as composition may depend on the target market.
Increasing cost and fluctuating availability of raw materials in combination with an increasingly competitive market is demanding a creative mind from the shrimp feed formulator. The nutritional strategy is key to maintain or gain market share. Aside from that, diseases like white spot, vibriosis and white gut/faeces are an emerging risk during the production cycle of shrimp in India and require a good nutritional support to the animal. The present study investigated the different nutritional strategies in commercial shrimp feeds during 2016, when the number of shrimp feed suppliers increased sharply. Feed samples of 8 major brands were collected in the market and analyzed for proximate composition as well as a number of essential nutrients (amino acids, phospholipids, cholesterol, n-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids). Some of the nutrient levels detected during the survey, revealed the potential for functional feed additives to optimize nutrient utilization in shrimp feeds in India.
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