The production of shrimp roe is dependent on the age, weight, and size of the adult females. There is a concurrent specific nutritional requirement prior to roe development. Consequently, roe production is random and inconsistent within any shrimp batches. Traditional methods to increase spawning frequency and egg production involve the unsustainable method of eyestalk ablation whereby one eyestalk of the shrimps is removed to stimulate yolk formation (vitellogenesis). In addition to the anatomical stress on the shrimps, eyestalk ablation can only be performed on shrimp with a minimum weight of 70 - 90 g which requires 12 months to grow out.
The proprietary epigenetic activated fermentation (EpAF) technology stimulates vitellogenesis naturally in female shrimps within 4 - 5 months, reaching 30 - 35 g. This greatly increases the quality and quantity of shrimp egg production. In addition, the taste of shrimp eggs can be altered subtly to suit the taste of the target market.
The technology provider is looking for joint venture partners or licensing the technology to interested parties from the aquaculture and/or food industry.
This biotech-based production method uses an all-natural ingredient formulation to stimulate egg development within 4 - 5 months for growing Vannamei shrimps. The shrimps will reach 30 - 35 g when producing eggs, instead of 50 - 60 g required in the conventional eyestalk ablation method.
Egg development can occur at an earlier rearing stage which reduces the time required for egg harvest. This leads to higher production volumes in the same timeframe. Using this method, 75% more female populations can be realised compared to conventional commercial farms.
The formulation determines the quality of eggs and can be altered to subtly change the taste of the roe. Moreover, there is a lower risk of disease transmission as the formulation does not contain live feeds.
This technology is mainly applied for shrimp roe production, but can be extended to the following applications:
Aquaculture is the fastest protein production market, with the growing demand for seafood as one of the main reasons. To increase shrimp production, eyestalk ablation has been commonly practiced for both research and commercial purposes to stimulate the development of mature ovaries for spawning. However, this is often criticised by animal rights activists as the removal is often done without anesthesia and impaired vision increases stress for the shrimps. Furthermore, ablation affects the physiology of the shrimp since other neuropeptides are produced in the eyestalk, leading to hormonal imbalance.
The global caviar market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.7% from 2019 to 2025 (Grand View Research 2019), owing to the increase in awareness of caviar’s health benefits, and its widespread applications in the food industry. Additionally, there has been increasing interest consumers have in food production, and more emphasis has been placed on sustainable and clean technology used in the aquaculture field as it grows. This biotechnology offers a more sustainable approach for caviar production since it involves an all-natural formulation. This technology also helps to reduce undue stress on the shrimp and fish, promoting healthier growth for them.