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Pigmentation of Pacific White Shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, by Dietary Astaxanthin Extracted from Haematococcus pluvialis


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This study investigated the effectiveness of dietary supplementation of astaxanthin (Ax) from the Haematococcus pluvialis on growth, survival, and pigmentation in Pacific white shrimp. Ten test diets were processed to contain five levels of Ax (25, 50, 75, 100, and 150 mg/kg as fed basis) by adding the natural or synthetic Ax to a basal diet containing no Ax. Each diet and a commercial shrimp feed were fed to four replicate tanks of shrimp (12 shrimp/tank) for 8 wk. Neither the natural nor synthetic Ax affected shrimp growth or survival. After cooking, shrimp fed the diets containing the natural Ax exhibited a strong red color, compared to the light pink color of shrimp fed the remaining diets. Colorimetric readings and Ax content in cooked shrimp demonstrated that the natural esterified Ax had greater pigmentation efficiency than synthetic free Ax (P < 0.05). The Ax contents in shrimp tail muscle demonstrated significant correlation with the levels of dietary Ax. The supplementation level of the natural Ax for optimum pigmentation efficiency is in a range of 75–100 mg/kg diet. The Ax product used in this study contained only a small amount (ca. 5.0%) of other carotenoids, indicating that the high pigmentation efficiency was mainly due to algal esterified Ax.