Betaine is a multifunctional nutrient which was first discovered in sugar beet juice. Betaine occurs naturally in plants, animals and microorganisms. Betaine has become a core ingredient in formulations for land animals. With three methyl groups and a bipolar structure, betaine has a broad range of functional benefits. Both functions of betaine, as an efficient methyl group donor and as an organic osmolyte, play a key role when animals are exposed to stressors. The purpose of this study was to examine how supplemental dietary betaine influenced productive traits and Vibrio-associated indicators in L. vannamei. To induce a dietary challenge, two basal feed recipes were formulated containing low and high levels of solvent extracted soybean meal (SBM).
Material & Methods
The trial was conducted at the ABRC laboratory, Kasetsart University, Thailand. SPF white shrimp PL 12 were distributed into six groups in triplicate tanks (120 PL/m2). Two basal feeds were formulated: C1 with 3% SBM and C2 with 23% SBM. Betaine was added in its natural form derived from the product Actibeet (AB) at levels of 0.4% and 1.0%, resulting in six experimental feeds. Experimental diets were fed for 45 days. Final body weights, survival rates, Vibrio spp. counts in hepatopancreas and intestines were determined.
Results & Discussion
Whiteleg shrimp reacted to the type of base diet (SBM level) and to the inclusion level of betaine (none, 0.45, 1.0%). Increasing levels of betaine to both basal formulations increased growth performance and reduced the number of Vibrio in tissues dramatically.
It is suggested that betaine supplementation at dietary concentrations above 0.4% improves performance and supports the robustness of juvenile Litopenæus vannamei.