The product, a dipeptide comprising two methionine molecules, will initially be available for shrimps and crustaceans but its efficiency is currently being tested for other species, said the amino acid maker.
The German company said Aquavi Met-Met, which is backed by a series of feeding trials with shrimp producers in Asia and Latin America as well as studies with universities and scientific partners, is aimed at boosting the efficiency and sustainability of shrimp farming.
An Evonik spokesperson told this publication previously the set-up of the new plant would 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.”
He said 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, said the Evonik representative.
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.
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 fishmeal 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.
Evonik said the methionine product has been registered as a feed additive in several countries, with the registration process ongoing.