Evaluation of green seaweed Ulva sp. as a replacement of fish meal in plant-based practical diets for Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei

X. Qiu, A. Neori, J. K. Kim, C. Yarish, M. Shpigel, L. Guttman, D. Ben Ezra, V. Odintsov, D. A. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growth trial and a digestibility trial were conducted to evaluate seaweed Ulva sp. as a substitution for fish meal (FM) in commercial-type feed formulation for Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. Towards this goal, the 6-week growth trial utilized increasing levels (0, 6.35, 12.7, 19.05, and 25.4%) of the first batch of Ulva meal (UM1) to replace up to 8% FM in a plant-based feed formulation. At the end of the growth trial, shrimp offered diets containing 12.7, 19.05, and 25.4% UM1 exhibited significantly reduced weight gain. Apparent net protein retention (ANPR) was significantly decreased, while feed conversion ratio (FCR) was significantly increased when shrimps were fed with diets containing 19.05 and 25.4% UM1. Crude lipid content of whole shrimp samples were significantly decreased when UM1 was supplemented in the diets. Apparent digestibility coefficients of dry matter, energy, protein, and amino acids of two batches of Ulva meal (UM1 and UM2) were determined using chromic oxide as an inert maker and the 70:30 replacement technique. Energy and protein digestibility of UM1 and UM2 were significantly lower than FM and soybean meal (SBM) which were run at the same time. As a result of relatively low protein availability, individual amino acids digestibility of UM1 and UM2 are also significantly lower than those of FM and SBM. Results of the present study indicate that UM1 can be included in the shrimp diet up to 6.35% to replace 2% fish meal without resulting in growth depression. The low nutrients availability and high mineral contents of Ulva meal may explain a portion of the observed reduction in shrimp growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1316
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The authors would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to those who have taken the time to critically review this manuscript as well as those who helped support this research at the E.W. Shell Research Station, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, Auburn University. Special thanks to staff who helped maintain and daily manage the facility during the trials. This work was supported in part by Research Grant Award No. US – 4599-13R from BARD, The United States – Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and the Hatch program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture. The mention of trademarks or proprietary products does not constitute an endorsement of the product by Auburn University and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may also be suitable.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


  • Apparent digestibility coefficients
  • Apparent net protein retention
  • Fish meal replacement
  • L. vannamei
  • Ulva sp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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