Date of Award

5-7-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Charles D. Derby

Abstract

Litopenaeus vannamei or Pacific white shrimp is the most widely farmed crustacean in the world. Shrimp are commonly fed feed containing 30-40% soybean meal or other plant-based feeds that are more economically and environmentally sustainable than animal-based feed. However, plant-based pellets are less palatable and less chemically attractive compared to animal material. Based on that, current research and practice includes the addition of specific marine animal meals in order to enhance palatability and attractability of plant-based shrimp feed. Yet, it is not sustainable or economically achievable to continue relying on marine animal meal. In the herein study, the effect of proprietary chemical mixtures designed by our research group as feed additives was examined based on their attractability and palatability in comparison to krill meal, a highly attractive and palatable supplement for shrimp feed. In palatability assays, total amount of pellets was measured before and after one-hour and three-hour periods of feeding in group-housed animals. In attractability assays, responses of shrimp were measured based on the number of probes and grabs on the source (airstone) of the stimulus being released. Each diet-set used contained different concentrations of krill meal and synthetic chemical mixtures. Results demonstrated these chemical mixtures enhance attractability and palatability of soybean based feed in L. vannamei when compared to krill meal. Furthermore, the addition of a proprietary mixture (= “premix”) improved responses in the attractability assays when compared to stimuli that did not contain the premix. Overall, results support the hypothesis that synthetic chemical mixtures can improve palatability and attractability of soybean meal based shrimp feed. This work could provide a reference for the development of synthetic chemoattractants and chemopallatants for the aquaculture of shrimp.

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