Evonik targets shrimp sector with new methionine source


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Evonik targets shrimp sector with new methionine source
A new feed additive aimed at the aquaculture industry is said to boost the sustainability of the sector through enabling better feed conversion, less excretion of nitrogen and improved water quality.

Shrimp producers are the initial target of the newly developed feed amino acid - Aquavi Met-Met – from German producer Evonik.

The product, a dipeptide comprising two methionine molecules, has been designed to help shrimp feed formulators meet the optimal dietary methionine levels, which are typically low in vegetable based diets.

The Aquavi Met-Met plant will be built next to Evonik's DL-methionine manufacturing sites in Antwerp, said the company, as it announced an investment volume in the project in around “the lower double digit million euro” ​range.

Production is set to commence at the site late next year.

Reliable supply

Christoph Kobler, global product manager aquaculture at Evonik, said that the set-up of the new plant will ensure a reliable supply of Aquavi Met-Met as the facility is guaranteed “an excellent raw material supply and is based near one of the biggest harbors in Europe.”

Kobler told FeedNavigator.com the product has been developed with certain shrimp and crustacean varieties in mind, namely the pacific white shrimp (litopenaeus vannamei), the black tiger shrimp (penaeus monodon), and the giant river prawn (macrobrachium rosenbergii).

Aquavi Met-Met could also be used to supplement feed for different carps and tilapia, and other crustaceans like Chinese mitten crab, but those segments will be targeted at a later stage, he said.

The launch of the additive, added Kobler, follows a series of feeding trials with shrimp producers in Asia and Latin America, backed by studies with universities and scientific partners.

“Global trials are ongoing,”​ he said.

Previous constraints with shrimp farming

Unlike feed for salmon and other types of fish, amino acids such as DL-methionine have been used with only limited success in shrimp farming due to the eating habits and digestive systems of the animals, said Evonik. 

While salmon snap up the feed as soon as it enters the water, shrimp eat their feed very slowly on the sea floor, chewing it up slowly before swallowing. As they eat, some of the water-soluble nutrients, such as DL-methionine, dissolve out, and the shrimp end up utilizing only parts of this feed additive. 

Less water soluble nature the key  

Aquavi Met-Met’s composition makes it is far less water soluble and, for this reason, it does not wash out of the feed as quickly, said the German chemical firm. 

The shrimp take in the additive and break it back down into two individual DL-methionine molecules during the digestive process. This way, DL-methionine and the rest of the nutrients in the feed are all available to the organism at the same time, said the producer. 

“Tests show that only 0.5 kilograms of the feed additive is required to achieve the same growth per 1,000 kilos of shrimp feed as with 0.9 kilos of DL-methionine,”​ said Evonik. 


Consequently, said the producer, the new feed additive will reduce the consumption of fish meal in shrimp aquaculture – a sector that has experienced massive exposure to price hikes in fish meal during the past few years.

The product, said Evonik, also helps water purity by reducing the amount of waste produced by the animals through an optimal supply of methionine. “The shrimp stay healthier and there is less strain on the environment,”​ it added. 

It is reported that, by 2015, 50% of edible meat from fish crustaceans and shellfish will come from aquaculture. 1

“Owing to demographic growth, increasing affluence, and overfishing in the world's oceans, the aquaculture market is growing at 6% per annum and therefore faster than other segments of animal production,”​ said Evonik. 

(1) Albert G. J. Tacon & Marc Metian (2013): Fish Matters: Importance of Aquatic Foods in Human Nutrition and Global Food Supply​, Reviews in Fisheries Science, 21:1, 22-38

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