Strong host, for shrimp robustness

It all starts at the hatchery

Supporting a strong host allows shrimp to better resist disease and drives productivity. A poor-quality, or weak post-larvae (PL) will never result in an optimal harvest, so not surprisingly the process starts at the hatchery. There are some notable considerations, to ensure your PL is as strong as possible, before transferring to the next production phase

  • Generate and follow strict bio-security protocols at all production steps
  • Ensure brood-stock are well maintained and fed high quality diets
  • Apply probiotics from nauplii phase, directly into the hatchery tanks or via live feed
  • Perform a stress test (e.g. salinity, ammonia), and set an internal standard for success
  • Source PL’s from reliable and accredited hatchery
  • Ideally PL’s should be SPF (specific pathogen free), SPR (specific pathogen resistant) or APE (all pathogens exposed)
  • Consider a nursery phase prior to stocking in grow-out ponds

AquaStar® is proven in commercial settings to improve PL robustness, as demonstrated by higher survival rate during disease and environmental stress tests.

Stress is critical

Stress is defined as ‘the sum of all the physiological responses by which an animal tries to maintain, or re-establish a normal metabolism’. It is inevitable in aquaculture, where shrimp are constantly exposed to pathogens, environmental fluctuations and other production stressors. There are many types of stress response, with differing severity (Figure 1).

Regardless of whether a stressor is acute (short and sharp), or chronic (lesser but longer), once the whole organism is affected (i.e. secondary or tertiary response), it is extremely difficult to recover the animal. Therefore, all attempts should be made to proactively manage stress.

Figure 1: Types of stress experienced by shrimp during culture cycle and their various stress response. Source: dsm-firmenich
Figure 2: Simplification of shrimp immune mechanisms. Source: dsm-firmenich

Promoting immunity

Relying on innate mechanisms, the shrimp immune system is relatively naïve, compared to their vertebrate counterparts, which possess both innate and adaptive immunity. The first layer of protection is physical, coming from the rigid exoskeleton, although it should be noted that during molting this protection is shortly absent and shrimp are particularly vulnerable. Second is the internal defense mechanism which can be further split into cellular and humoral immunity (Figure 2).

OVN Optimum Vitamin Nutrition® ensures animals are fed with high quality vitamins, produced with the lowest environmental footprint, in the right amounts, appropriate to their life stage and growing conditions for optimal health and welfare.

Once the fundamental nutrition is supplied, other feed additives can be complementary in health management programs. Nucleotides are considered as semi-essential nutrients as their de-novo synthesis is energetically expensive and often limiting, especially under stressful conditions. Rovimax® introduces highly concentrated and purified nucleotides to the animal, further boosting the immune system and driving disease resistance.

Overcoming mycotoxins

There is little point in promoting immunity when other feed components are cancelling those efforts and eliminating their benefits. One such contaminant is mycotoxins, which have a range of negative impacts in shrimp, including weakened immunity or even immunosuppression. The risk is never zero, indeed, according to dsm-firmenich Mycotoxin Survey results, more than 97% of aquafeeds are contaminated with mycotoxins, with 92% testing positive for multiple metabolites. The effects of mycotoxins can vary depending on many factors including the type of mycotoxin. However, it is almost unanimous that all major mycotoxins have a negative impact on immunity and gastrointestinal function (Figure 3). This weakens the animal and reduces its ability to fight pathogens, ultimately increasing their susceptibility to disease.

Implementing a robust Mycotoxin Risk Management program is vital to ensure optimal health and growth performance. Mycofix® is a state-of-the-art mycotoxin deactivator delivering three modes of action; adsorption, bio-transformation and bio-protection and is the ultimate insurance policy for your aquafeed.

Figure 3: Effects of mycotoxin contamination in aquatic animals. AFL = aflatoxin, FUM = fumonisin, OTA = ochratoxin, DON = deoxynivalenol, ZEN = zearalenone | Source: Albert Tacon, DSM WNF 2023


  • AquaStar®

    AquaStar® comprises the most complete range of aquaculture probiotics for hatchery, feed mill and farms to improve growth and enhance pond and water quality.

  • 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


    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.

  • Mycofix®

    The Mycofix® portfolio of feed additives represents the most state-of-the-art solution for protecting animal health by deactivating mycotoxins that contaminate farm animal feed. Its safety and efficacy are proven by 7 EU authorizations for substances that deactivate mycotoxins.