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Aquaculture Nutrition
Year: 2008  |  Volume: 14  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 181 - 191

Prediction of culture performance of juvenile Litopenaeus vannamei by in vitro (pH-stat) degree of feed protein hydrolysis with species-specific enzymes

D. LEMOS and A.J .P. NUNES    

Abstract: Rapid in vitro methods for measuring digestibility may be useful in analysing aqua feeds if the extent and limits of their application are clearly defined. The pH-stat protein digestibility routine with shrimp hepatopancreas enzymes was previously related to apparent protein digestibility with juvenile Litopenaeus vannamei fed diets containing different protein ingredients. The potential of the method to predict culture performance of shrimp fed six commercial feeds (T3, T4, T5, T6, T7 and T8) with 350 g kg−1 declared crude-protein content was assessed. The consistency of results obtained using hepatopancreas enzyme extracts from either pond or clear water-raised shrimp was further verified in terms of reproducibility and possible diet history effects upon in vitro outputs. Shrimps were previously acclimated and then maintained over 56 days (initial mean weight 3.28 g) on each diet in 500-L tanks at 114 ind m−2, clear water closed system with continuous renewal and mechanical filtering (50 μm), with four replicates per treatment. Feeds were offered four times daily (six days a week) delivered in trays at feeding rates ranging from 4.0% to 7.0% of stocked shrimp biomass. Feed was accessible to shrimp 4 h daily for 1-h feeding period after which uneaten feed was recovered. Growth and survival were determined every 14 days from a sample of 16 individuals per tank. Water quality was monitored daily (pH, temperature and salinity) and managed by water back flushing filter cleaning every 7–10 days. Feeds were analysed for crude protein, gross energy, amino acids and pepsin digestibility. In vitro pH-stat degree of protein hydrolysis (DH%) was determined for each feed using hepatopancreas enzyme extracts from experimental (clear water) or pond-raised shrimp. Feeds resulted in significant differences in shrimp performance (P<0.05) as seen by the differences in growth rates (0.56–0.98 g week−1), final weight and feed conversion ratio (FCR). Shrimp performance and in vitro DH% with pond-raised shrimp enzymes showed significant correlation (<0.05) for yield (R2 = 0.72), growth rates (R2 = 0.72–0.80) and FCR (R2 = −0.67). Other feed attributes (protein : energy ratio, amino acids, true protein, non-protein nitrogen contents and in vitro pepsin digestibility) showed none or limited correlation with shrimp culture performance. Additional correlations were found between growth rates and methionine (R2 = 0.73), FCR and histidine (R2 = −0.60), and DH% and methionine or methionine+cystine feed contents (R2 = 0.67–0.92). pH-stat assays with shrimp enzymes generated reproducible DH% results with either pond (CV ≤ 6.5%) or clear water (CV ≤ 8.5%) hepatopancreas enzyme sources. Moreover, correlations between shrimp growth rates and feed DH% were significant regardless of the enzyme origin (pond or clear water-raised shrimp) and showed consistent R2 values. Results suggest the feasibility of using standardized hepatopancreas enzyme extracts for in vitro protein digestibility.

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