Sugarcane bagasse as a carbon source for shrimp culture in biofloc

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By Milthon Lujan


The world’s appetite for shrimp is on the rise, and the white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) is a star player in aquaculture. However, traditional aquaculture methods can consume many resources and affect the environment. This is where biofloc technology comes in: a revolutionary technique that promotes healthy shrimp growth and minimizes water demand.

A team of researchers from the Polytechnic of Marine and Fisheries conducted a study to analyze the use of bagasse as a carbon source in the biofloc system for the cultivation of white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei).


The article explores a new and promising twist in biofloc systems: using sugarcane bagasse, a sustainable and readily available byproduct of sugar production, as a key ingredient.

Biofloc: Friendly Microorganisms

Biofloc systems create a dynamic environment where a range of beneficial microorganisms thrive. These microscopic wonders help break down waste products like ammonia, which can be harmful to shrimp. In turn, the microorganisms become a nutritious food source for shrimp, promoting their health and growth.

Additionally, the flocs are rich in vitamins, essential amino acids, and digestive enzymes, potentially reducing the need for external feeding. Furthermore, probiotics within the biofloc community can further improve shrimp health by boosting immunity, optimizing feed conversion, and suppressing harmful bacteria.

Cultivating beneficial microbes that are part of the flocs requires a delicate balance of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) sources. Traditionally, molasses and meals have been used as carbon sources.


Research has shown promising results using alternative nitrogen sources such as feed residues and chicken manure in tilapia farming. Similarly, various fertilizers and ammonium chloride can be effective for vannamei shrimp biofloc; however, these methods can be costly and pose environmental concerns.

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Sugarcane Bagasse as a Carbon Source

Researchers studied the potential of sugarcane bagasse, a fibrous material left after sugar extraction, as a carbon source for biofloc systems.

While it contains less protein than traditional meal sources, sugarcane bagasse contains a higher percentage of organic carbon (39.45% vs. 41%). This suggests that bagasse can effectively support biofloc growth and ammonia removal.

The experiment compared shrimp raised in biofloc systems fed with sugarcane bagasse (treatment L) to those raised in systems using wheat flour (a common carbon source – treatment T) and a control group without biofloc (treatment K).

The Results: A Success Story


The study found that sugarcane bagasse performed remarkably well! Here’s why it’s so intriguing for shrimp producers:

  • Shrimp thrived: Shrimp growth rates in sugarcane bagasse biofloc (treatment L) were comparable to those raised with wheat flour (treatment T).
  • Healthy, happy shrimp: Survival rates and overall health indicators, such as total hemolytic count (THC), were equally impressive in both biofloc treatments (L and T).
  • Improved water quality: Sugarcane bagasse biofloc effectively reduced ammonia levels, mimicking the performance of wheat flour biofloc.
  • Environmentally friendly: The use of bagasse, a waste product, promotes sustainability in the agricultural process.


“The use of sugarcane bagasse as a carbon source in biofloc systems can improve the growth, immune performance, and survival of vannamei shrimp,” concluded the researchers.

Thus, sugarcane bagasse emerges as a viable alternative source of carbon for shrimp cultivation in biofloc systems, offering comparable shrimp growth, improved water quality, and reduced environmental footprint.

Further research can optimize bagasse usage and explore its potential benefits on a larger scale. However, the initial findings highlight the potential of this agricultural byproduct for both shrimp producers and agricultural growers.

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The study has been funded by the Ministry of Marine and Research Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, through the Education Center of Marine and Fisheries with Lecturer Research Scheme of Polytechnic.

Ardana Kurniaji,
Department of Aquaculture, Polytechnic of Marine and Fisheries
Bone, Indonesia
Tel: +62 813-1621-9557

Reference (open access)
Yunarty, Anton, Diana Putri Renitasari, Toto Hardianto and Ardana Kurniaji, 2024. Utilization of Sugarcane Bagasse (Saccharum officinarum Linn.) as a Carbon Source in Biofloc System of Vaname Shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 27: 90-99. DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2024.90.99