Immune support against stress and disease pressures

Importance of immunity

The well-being of fish and shrimp relies heavily on their immune system, which works to keep them safe from illness and infection. There are many factors that can affect the strength of their immune system, including their species and stage of development. When fish and shrimp are born, their immune system is not yet fully developed, making them particularly vulnerable to health issues. As they grow into juveniles and adults, they are constantly exposed to the risk of disease and other stresses related to production. Therefore, it is crucial for them to have a strong immune system in order to increase their overall strength and robustness, leading to higher survival rates, improved productivity, and greater profitability.

The first line of defense

The initial line of defense is made up of physical barriers, which play a crucial role in protecting fish and shrimp. The major barriers are found in the gut, skin, and gills of both species, and it is essential for these organs to function properly. Scales in fish and exoskeletons in shrimp also contribute to their barrier function. However, it is important to note that shrimp are vulnerable to predation and stress during molting. When aquatic animals face health and nutritional challenges, their barrier function can be compromised, resulting in negative impacts on fish and shrimp aquaculture (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Poor barrier function negatively impacts aquatic animal health and welfare. SOURCE: dsm-firmenich Global Aqua Days 2023

Types of immunity

Traditionally, the immune system is divided into the innate, or nonspecific immune system, and the adaptive or specific immune system. Vertebrates (e.g. fish) have both innate and adaptive, whilst invertebrates (e.g. shrimp, crabs) rely exclusively on innate mechanisms.


The core of vaccination relies on the immune system's specificity and memory. Fish, equipped with an adaptive immune system, can be vaccinated, unlike invertebrates such as shrimp and crabs. While vaccines play a crucial role in health management, they aren't infallible, and not all diseases have viable vaccines. Importantly, vaccination effectiveness varies with temperature, requiring weeks or even months for protection to develop in cold-water species like salmonids.

Table 1: Properties of innate and adaptive immune mechanisms
 Innate immunityAdaptive immunity
SpeciesFish and shrimpFish only
FeaturesNon-specificHighly specific
Activation speedRapidDelayed (temperature dependent)
PotencyLow - mediumMedium - high
Duration of protectionShort termLong term

From exposed to protected

At dsm-firmenich, we've crafted a range of nutritional solutions to enhance immune support. These solutions facilitate the rapid and sustained development of optimal immune status in fish and shrimp throughout their production cycle, providing an extra boost when necessary.

Explore our product recommendations.



    Fish need a robust immune system to stay healthy. Rovimax is a high quality feed additive containing nucleotides to booster and strengthen the immune system- for best performance in aqua cultured species and better returns for producers.

  • OVN Optimum Vitamin Nutrition®

    OVN Optimum Vitamin Nutrition® is about feeding animals high quality vitamins, produced with the lowest environmental footprint, in the right amounts, appropriate to their life stage and growing conditions, to optimize: • Animal Health and Welfare ▶ good for animals • Animal Performance ▶ good for farmers • Food Quality & Food Waste ▶ good for consumers and the planet


    We offer additives that allow consistent delivery of precisely-pigmented egg yolks, poultry skin and fish.