Corn fermented protein improves growth and protects shrimp

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By Milthon Lujan

Throughout the world, various alternative protein sources are being evaluated to replace fish meal in the diets of different aquaculture species, including shrimp.

Among the ingredients, corn-derived products are some of the most promising due to their excellent protein content, favorable protein and amino acid composition, price, and absence of antinutritional factors.

Researchers from Jakarta Technical University of Fisheries, Universitas Gadjah Mada, POET Bioproducts, and Harper Adams University evaluated the use of Corn fermented protein (CFP) in the growth performance and feed utilization of Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) in a pond, as well as a challenge with the pathogen Vibrio harveyi under controlled conditions after a feeding trial.

“The findings of this study could provide useful information on the development of functional food-type ingredients for dual purposes in supporting improved growth performance while mitigating infection and disease in shrimp raised in intensive farms,” highlighted the researchers.

Benefits of Corn Fermented Protein

Ingredients derived from the ethanol production process from corn milling are now available in the market and can be used to formulate shrimp feed.

Previous studies by the researchers determined that 12% of Corn fermented protein can partially replace soybean meal and completely replace corn meal, thereby improving the growth of Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp.

They also reported that the use of 12% Corn fermented protein (CFP) could enhance biomass, final average weight, and improve feed conversion rate. Other researchers report that up to 20% can effectively replace corn protein concentrate, or up to 15% to replace fish meal in a typical diet formulation for L. vannamei shrimp.

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According to the scientists, another advantage of using fermented corn protein in aquaculture feed formulation is the presence of yeast. These microorganisms have shown the potential to produce various bioactive substances, such as glucans, enzymes, and vitamins to enhance immunity, growth, and protection against pathogen infection.

Several studies in shrimp have demonstrated that supplementing feed with yeast improves growth, intestinal microbiota, and immune response against Vibrio harveyi infection.

Evaluation of Corn fermented protein

The researchers conducted two separate tests: pond culture and a challenge test with V. harveyi.

“The current research has shown that fermented corn protein can be an effective contributor to the formulation of feed for Pacific white shrimp L. vannamei,” report the researchers.

They also highlight, “The growth performance and feed utilization efficiency of shrimp fed with CFP, cultivated in ponds heavily infected with pathogens, including white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) and acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), showed similar results to shrimp raised in normal ponds and fed with commercially available feeds commonly used in Indonesia.”

They also emphasize that the “successful production of shrimp reaching the consumption size could be attributed to the availability of yeast in the CFP product, which stimulates the shrimp’s immune response against pathogens and environmental stressors.”

“Furthermore, after the challenge with the specific pathogen, V. harveyi, we observed strong evidence that this product can be effective in enhancing general immune and defense mechanisms in shrimp against infection,” they concluded.


According to the researchers, the study results demonstrate the capacity of a new protein-rich ingredient to effectively replace several key components in formulated diets for vannamei shrimp.

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They also emphasize that the benefits of fermentation-derived coproducts, such as fermented corn protein, in improving shrimp health are a crucial cost-effective gain in the quest to reduce the need for chemotherapeutics and antibiotics.

“The findings suggest that 6% or 12% inclusion of fermented corn protein can be used as a new ingredient for shrimp feeding,” they concluded.

The study received financial support from POET Bioproducts.

Reference (open access)
Romi Novriadi, Indah Istiqomah, Alim Isnansetyo, Derek Balk, Melissa Jolly-Breithaupt, Simon Davies. Corn fermented protein in production diets for pacific white legged shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei: Improved growth performance, health status and resistance to infection, Aquaculture Reports, Volume 30, 2023, 101571, ISSN 2352-5134, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aqrep.2023.101571.

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