Oxygen Potential to Enhance Shrimp Conservation

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By Milthon Lujan

Increasing oxygen before harvest improves the shelf life of shrimp. Source: Chenxi Guo et al., (2024), Food Research International.
Increasing oxygen before harvest improves the shelf life of shrimp. Source: Chenxi Guo et al., (2024), Food Research International.

Common practice after capturing or harvesting shrimp involves placing them in an ice slurry. However, traditional and commercial approaches yield unsatisfactory results for shrimp throughout the entire transportation chain.

An innovative study sheds light on the potential of oxygen supplementation before harvest to revolutionize shrimp conservation, unlocking new possibilities for the fishing or aquaculture industry.

Scientists from the University of Singapore, the University of California, and Jiangnan University evaluated the effect of pre-harvest oxygen supplementation on the post-mortem metabolic profile of shrimp during cold storage using systematic metabolism analysis and multiple data analyses, providing scientific insights and novel strategies to improve shrimp quality during transportation.

Experimental Design

This research, utilizing state-of-the-art dual-platform metabolic analysis along with sophisticated data analysis, delves into the intricate effects of additional oxygen on shrimp throughout the supply chain. The study’s findings paved the way for a comprehensive understanding of the post-mortem metabolic profile of shrimp during cold storage.

Researchers acquired live vannamei shrimp from local trade. These shrimp were divided into two groups and transferred to cultivation tanks. After an acclimatization period, the scientists stopped oxygenation for one group (control group), while the other group continued with water oxygenation for 4 hours.

Metabolic Transformation

The study revealed a significant decrease in alcohols, ketones, and carbohydrates (key actors in shrimp’s energy metabolism) during cold storage compared to fresh shrimp.

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However, the addition of oxygen supplements for just 4 hours significantly altered the landscape. This intervention mitigated the degradation of vital amino acids, ensuring their preservation and enhancing the nutritional value of shrimp.

Tasty Improvements

Furthermore, the research identified a higher concentration of specific fatty acids in shrimp subjected to oxygen supplements. These fatty acids play a crucial role in both lipid metabolism and flavor development, suggesting that oxygenation enhances the sensory experience of consuming shrimp.

Beyond Preservation

The impact of the study extends far beyond preserving the freshness and flavor of shrimp. Findings demonstrate that oxygen supplementation influences various crucial metabolic pathways, including nitrogen metabolism, amino acid and peptide metabolism, nucleotide metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, and lipid metabolism. This comprehensive knowledge lays the groundwork for future research and developments, paving the way for optimizing oxygen supplementation techniques across the aquaculture industry.

Implications for a Sustainable Future

By improving conservation, extending shelf life, and potentially enhancing flavor, oxygen supplementation holds immense promise for the fishing industry. This innovative approach can contribute to a more sustainable food system by minimizing waste and maximizing the value of marine resources. Additionally, better conservation can lead to increased market access for shrimp producers, fostering economic growth and the development of coastal communities.


This research opens a new and exciting chapter in the story of seafood conservation. The potential of oxygen supplementation to open up a world of possibilities for the shrimp industry is undeniable.

“The findings indicated that nitrogen metabolism, amino acid and peptide metabolism, nucleotide metabolism, and lipid metabolism pathways in shrimp during cold storage have been altered,” conclude the researchers.

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They also highlight that oxygen supplementation in cultivation water before harvest has the potential to mitigate in vivo enzymatic activity, favoring the extension of shrimp shelf life.

As more research sheds light on the complexities of this approach, we can anticipate a future where shrimp remains a cornerstone of healthy diets while contributing to a more sustainable world.

Hongshun Yang
Shaoxing Key Laboratory of Traditional Fermentation Food and Human Health
Jiangnan University (Shaoxing) Industrial Technology Research Institute
Zhejiang 312000, China
Email: hongshunyang@hotmail.com

Yun He
Department of Food Science and Technology
National University of Singapore
Science Drive 2, Singapore 117542, Singapore
Email: e0321308@u.nus.edu

Chenxi Guo, Yi Le, Yuyun Lu, Hongshun Yang, Yun He. 2024. Effect of oxygen supplement on post-mortem metabolic profile of shrimp during cold storage, Food Research International, Volume 175, 2024, 113734, ISSN 0963-9969, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2023.113734.

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