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Abstract

Three sources of soybean meal (SBM) were biochemically characterized and evaluated in diets for juvenile Litopenaeus vannamei. Three biological techniques were utilized to evaluate the nutritional quality of the meals including an outdoor growth trial as well as determination of in vivo apparent digestibility and in vitro digestibility including pepsin digestibility (0.0002%), pH Stat degree of hydrolysis, and immobilized digestive enzyme assay (IDEA). The growth trial was conducted over a 10-wk period using soybean meal as the primary protein source with each meal being included at 54–58% of the diet based on an equal protein inclusion. At the conclusion of the growth trial there were no significant differences between the test diets indicating equivalent biological availability under practical conditions. The in vivo digestibility trial utilized chromic oxide as the inert marker and 70:30 replacement techniques resulted in typical results. Apparent protein digestibility (APD) and apparent energy digestibility (AED) of the diets ranged from 66.8 to 80.2% and 65.4 to 74.7%, respectively. Ingredient digestibility values for protein and energy ranged from 78.8 to 93.5% and 60.5 to 85.0%, respectively. One of the three SBM evaluated had numerically lower protein digestibility and significantly lower energy digestibility than the other two meals.