We use cookies to ensure that the website works as intended and to collect statistics on its use so that we can improve your web site experience.


New study: Krill meal exhibits highest protein and amino acid digestibility in shrimp diets

Back to news

May 18, 2022: In a new, independently conducted study from leading university aquaculture research teams in Brazil, scientists evaluated the digestibility of crude protein and essential amino acids in ingredients for Pacific whiteleg shrimp diets. One of the test diets in the study included krill meal provided by Aker BioMarine.

The feeding trial ran over three experimental stages, each lasting up to 30 days. The test diets included a range of plant and terrestrial animal byproduct ingredients, as well as aquatic ingredients, such as marine fish meal, salmon byproduct meal and krill meal. Following the experiment, the scientists concluded that the aquatic ingredients yielded higher crude protein and essential amino acid digestibility, making them the more effective additives to shrimp feeds.

“Protein ingredients can be costly for shrimp farmers, and the shared goal is to use ingredients that are as effective as possible, a motivation that prompted this new study,” says Lena Burri, R&D Director, Aker BioMarine. “While we did not participate in this experiment from a research perspective, we supplied the krill meal to the team, and it was shown to be the highest performer among all ingredients tested.”

The digestibility experiment set-up

The study was conducted in the State of Ceará, NE Brazil, with juvenile whiteleg shrimp weighing six to eight grams each. Each test group was fed a specific diet to measure the effect of key protein and amino acid ingredients. The ingredients tested include soy protein concentrate, corn gluten meal, poultry byproduct meal, meat and bone meal, hydrolyzed feather meal, spray-dried blood meal, tilapia byproduct meal, Brazilian marine fish meal, salmon byproduct meal and krill meal.

Key findings

  • Apparent digestibility for crude protein for most aquatic proteins was high compared to plant and terrestrial animal byproducts.
  • Krill meal exhibited the highest apparent crude protein digestibility (84.3%) and apparent essential amino acid digestibility (86.5%) among all test ingredients.
  • The shrimp fed the krill meal diet had the best growth performance with the highest weekly growth and the lowest feed conversion ratio.

“This study has shown that protein and amino acid digestibility of raw materials have a greater importance than their crude values and should be carefully considered during ingredient selection and feed formulation. We see that aquatic protein sources and krill meal specifically have proven to increase feed efficiency and growth performance of juvenile shrimp, which will likely have direct implications to water quality and economic performance of shrimp farms,” says Dr. Alberto J.P. Nunes from Instituto de Ciências do Mar (Labomar), Brazil.

More information about the digestibility experiment

The published study is titled “Apparent digestibility of protein and essential amino acids from commonly used feed ingredients in Brazil for juvenile shrimp Litopenaeus vannemei” and was part of the M.Sc. thesis of Ms.  Carolina Vieira. The work was supervised by Professor Alberto Nunes. Other co-authors included Drs. Ricardo Pinto and Alexandre Diógenes. It is available in full here.

About Aker BioMarine

Aker BioMarine is a biotech innovator and Antarctic krill-harvesting company, dedicated to improving human and planetary health. Listed on Oslo Stock Exchange, the company develops krill-based ingredients for pharmaceutical, nutraceutical (Superba®, NKO® and K·REAL®), aquaculture (QRILL™ Aqua), and animal feed applications (QRILL™ Pet), including INVI™, a highly concentrated protein isolate, and LYSOVETA™, a targeted transporter of EPA and DHA from krill. Aker BioMarine’s fully transparent value chain stretches from sustainable krill harvesting in pristine Antarctic waters through its Montevideo logistics hub, Houston production plant, and to customers around the world. The company’s strong focus on sustainability inspired the launch of AION by Aker BioMarine, a circularity company dedicated to helping companies to recycle and reuse waste. Read more: www.akerbiomarine.com


For more information, please contact:

Lisa Miller

Communications Director, US


+1 (281) 914-1304