DDGS, a byproduct of ethanol production, are a promising option to replace some of the soybean meal used in shrimp diets, according to a recent study conducted in outdoor pond conditions.

The study found that DDGS can be included up to 15% in the diet of Pacific white shrimp with no negative effects on growth performance, health, or product quality, including colour, aroma and flavour characteristics. 

The researchers tested different levels of DDGS (0%, 5%, 10%, and 15%) for a 90-day culture period, using 720 shrimp in 40 net pens, with 10 replicates for each diet.

Shrimp fed with 5% and 10% DDGS used the feed more efficiently and showed optimum growth. Meanwhile, there was a significant improvement in the texture of shrimp with the use of 10% and 15% as a partial replacement for the soybean meal. 

Fish meal has traditionally been used as the main protein source in all aquaculture feeds, including in shrimp, but soybean meal has emerged as an economical and nutritious alternative.

DDGS has recently attracted attention as a feed ingredient in the shrimp industry due to both its nutritional value and lower price. The production of DDGS has increased with the rise of dry-grind ethanol plants, where 100 kg of corn fermented produces about 36 litres of ethanol, 32 kg of DDGS, and 32 kg of carbon dioxide, the study notes. It is supported by grants from the US Grains Council and published in the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society (JWAS).