Distiller’s Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) as a Replacement for Soybean Meal in Vannamei Shrimp

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By Milthon Lujan

In the intensive production of Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp, the development of diets that meet nutritional requirements is essential to optimize growth, health, and profitability during the production period. Traditionally, fishmeal has been the primary source of protein in aquaculture feeds. However, concerns about the sustainability of its supply and increasing demand have encouraged the search for alternative sources like soybean meal (SBM).

Soybean meal (SBM) has traditionally been used as a primary protein source in shrimp diets, but the quest for sustainable alternatives has led to the evaluation of other ingredients, such as Distiller’s Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS).


Scientists from Jakarta Technical University of Fisheries, Diponegoro University, and the U.S. Grains Council assessed the effect of incorporating varying levels of DDGS to partially replace SBM on the growth performance, nutritional profile, total hemocyte count, lysozyme activity, and organoleptic characteristics of white Pacific Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp raised in outdoor grow-out ponds.

Laboratory vs. Commercial Pond

Most studies investigating the use of DDGS to partially replace SBM in Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp diets have been conducted under laboratory conditions. However, these laboratory conditions significantly differ from commercial pond environments in terms of environmental and culture factors. Therefore, it is crucial to extrapolate laboratory results to real-world conditions to understand the viability of using DDGS in the shrimp industry.

Study in Grow-Out Ponds

The recent study aimed to bridge the gap between laboratory and commercial pond conditions. The primary objective of the study was to assess the feasibility of incorporating DDGS at various proportions (D0 (0%), D5 (5%), D10 (10%), and D 15 (15%)) to replace SBM in shrimp diets during a 90-day grow-out period in commercial ponds. A total of 720 shrimp with an average initial weight of 1.06 ± 0.01 g were randomly distributed into 40 net pens (3 × 2 × 1 per net pen) with 10 replicates per dietary treatment.

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Promising Results

“The present study provides useful information on some aspects of shrimp quality after feeding with DDGS to partially replace SBM inclusion using an outdoor pond system until shrimp reaches marketable size,” the study’s authors report.


An increase in biomass, mean weight, and thermal growth coefficient of shrimp was observed with 5% and 10% inclusion levels of DDGS. Additionally, a significant reduction in feed conversion ratio (FCR) was noted when using 5% and 10% DDGS to partially replace SBM.

Shrimp Health and Quality

The study also evaluated aspects related to shrimp health and quality.

“Analysis of the whole-body of L. vannamei shrimp expressed as a percentage of dry matter showed that crude fiber and ash content were not affected when DDGS was used to replace soybean meal in shrimp diets,” they reported.

Furthermore, according to the study, there were no significant changes in the total hemocyte count (THC), lysozyme activity, color, aroma, and flavor of the shrimp. However, shrimp texture was significantly better with the use of 10% and 15% DDGS in the diet.


However, the scientists report that “the results of the organoleptic analyses in this research showed no significant differences in terms of shrimp color, aroma, and flavor. As the analysis involved a group of trained and experienced individuals, the results showed that there is no effect on shrimp quality when the protein source changed from SBM to DDGS.”


The researchers conclude that “the results of this study confirm that DDGS can be included up to 15% in the practical diet of white Pacific Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp to partially replace the use of soybean meal without affecting growth performance, health, and product quality.”

They also highlight that optimal growth was achieved with the inclusion of 5% and 10% DDGS supplemented with amino acids to partially replace SBM.

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These results have significant implications for the shrimp industry, suggesting that DDGS can improve growth, quality, and maintain the health of shrimp cultivated in commercial ponds. However, the scientists caution that more studies are needed for quantitative analysis and detailed sensory evaluation.


The study was funded by the U.S. Grains Council.

Romi Novriadi
Department of Aquaculture, Jakarta Technical University of Fisheries (Politeknik Ahli Usaha Perikanan)
Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Raya Pasar Minggu, Jati Padang, Jakarta 12520, Indonesia.
Email: novriadiromi@yahoo.com

Reference (open access)
Novriadi, R., Herawati, V. E., Prayitno, S. B., Windarto, S., & Tan, R. (2023). Evaluation of distiller’s dried grains with solubles in diets for Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, reared under pond conditions. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1111/jwas.13033

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