11 Jun 2023

Functional feed additives reduce the carbon footprint of shrimp production

LCA of two feed additives used in shrimp aquaculture 

Together with Adisseo, Blonk performed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study of two shrimp feed additives. Adisseo is a company in nutritional solutions and additives for animal feed and has the ambition to reduce the environmental impact of aquaculture. By transitioning towards more sustainable aquaculture practices, the sector can minimize its environmental impact, safeguard resources, adapt to climate change, and contribute to global food security while encouraging social responsibility. Feed additives have the potential to improve the environmental performance of aquaculture, and in this case shrimp farming. Therefore, Adisseo initiated a project to measure the potential of functional feed additives to the environmental footprint of shrimp farming. The study shows that aquafeed additives (Sanacore®GM and Aqualyso®) can reduce the carbon footprint of shrimp production.


The need to improve the productivity and sustainability of shrimp farming

The global demand for shrimp is not expected to decrease and at the same time developments such as global warming and the decrease in related natural disasters puts a pressure on the industry to act urgently. The aquaculture sector has a clear task and efforts are needed to improve the productivity and sustainability of shrimp farming will become ever more important. Various aspects of farmed shrimp can be influenced by shrimp producers, think of nutritional value, productivity, and sustainability. For the environmental performance of farmed shrimp, the carbon footprint of feed production has a dominant share. To better understand the potential of functional feed additives to reduce the carbon footprint of shrimp farming Adisseo decided to perform an LCA of Sanacore®GM and Aqualyso®, which are two of their aquafeed additives.

Conducting a Life Cycle Assessment

We worked closely with technical experts from Adisseo to define the scenarios for the application of two feed additives in shrimp production. Based on experimental data various scenarios were defined and analysed with help of an LCA assessment. There are no guidelines available regarding the direct and indirect emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from the farm. As these emissions are commonly included in the assessments of other animal products, these emissions were modelled based on literature.


LCA seeks to measure the environmental impact, i.e. such as on land use, water use, or eutrophication, throughout the lifetime of a product. From a life cycle perspective for feed additives the use phase is very important to consider because the environmental impact of improved animal performance is potentially much stronger than the environmental impact of the production of the additive.

The environmental impact of the feed additive production was estimated based on the GFLI proxy for feed additives as prescribed in the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) feed for food producing animals. Both feed additives led to an improvement of the economic feed conversion ratio (EFCR) and system productivity, lowering the Nitrogen and Phosphorus excretion.

Assessments like this require a large amount of data and variables that need to be collected across the value chain of the additive. Today, the industry can rely on a handful of public databases, such as GFLI, Agri-footprint, that can provide reliable reference values for such assessments.


Two feed additives: Sanacore®GM and Aqualyso®

Sanacore®GM is a phytobiotic additive and has been successfully used in shrimp farms facing common diseases such as Vibriosis, AHPND, EHP, and White Feces Syndrome (WFS) reducing mortality and increasing productivity. The LCA was conducted for a large corporate shrimp farm in Indonesia. This farm had experienced several successive bad crops affected by WFS, EHP and WSSV, resulting in decreasing yields. Sanacore®GM was supplemented in feed as a preventive strategy to improve survival and production under pressure of disease outbreaks. The environmental performance of the shrimp feed with addition of Sanacore ®GM was compared with standard farm productivity of previous cycles.

A second additive Aqualyso® was evaluated on the basis of the same farm system as the Sanacore®GM study with adapted animal performance based on results from various feeding trials. Aqualyso® is a lysophospholipid-based digestive enhancer aiming to improve nutrient digestion and utilization under feed cost reduction strategies. The additive can be used to boost growth and reduce Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) in shrimp feed, while reducing fat levels in the diet.  In the present LCA, experimental data obtained from a replacement strategy based on 0.75% lecithin and 0.5% fish oil replaced by the additive was modelled along with representative farm data.

Click here for more info on Sanacore® GM or Aqualyso®

Sanacore®GM increases biomass and reduces the carbon footprint of shrimp


The ponds supplemented with Sanacore®GM resulted in improved survival (3x), production (+65%), and Economic Feed Conversion Rate (-32%) compared to the previous cycles without Sanacore®GM. These improvements in productivity were reflected in a reduction of the environmental footprint. Figure 1 shows an overall 38% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per kg of shrimp produced resulting from the additive supplementation.

An estimated 6.2 kg CO2 eq/kg shrimp were on average generated in previous crops, as the main sources of the carbon footprint were feed production, energy consumption, and direct and indirect emissions at the farm.

Sanacore®GM reduced the overall carbon footprint to 3.7 kg CO2 eq/kg shrimp through improved production efficiency leading to lower feed and energy consumption per kg shrimp as well as reduced direct and indirect emissions at the farm. This LCA confirmed the positive contribution of the preventive application of Sanacore®GM  to reducing the carbon footprint of shrimp farming in conditions under high disease pressure.

Aqualyso® reduces both feed cost and the carbon footprint of shrimp

Aqualyso® supplementation reduced feed cost while supporting feed performance. The growth rate of the shrimp and FCR were improved by 13% and 9%, respectively, in relation to the reference feed. The major contributor to the carbon footprint of feed was soy usage, mostly through Land Use Change (i.e. deforestation) and representing 55% of the feed total CO2 emissions (Figure 2A). The carbon footprint reduction in feed attributed to the reformulation (i.e. lecithin and fish oil replacement by Aqualyso®) was of 3% and thus considered only marginal (Figure 2A). On the other hand, combined with the marginal effect on the footprint of the feed the effect of the additive supplementation on growth and FCR led to a more significant reduction of 16% in the overall CO2 production per kg of shrimp produced (Figure 2B).
This second LCA further supports the potential of effective nutritional feed additives to not only improve feed performance or cost effectiveness but also contribute to reduce the global warming impact of shrimp production.

The two examples show that the application of functional feed additives such as Sanacore®GM and Aqualyso® can be used by the shrimp industry as tools to support sustainable shrimp farming.

More information

Get in touch

Björn Kok
Medior Consultant

If you have questions about this project or are interested in an LCA of your product? Get in touch with Björn.