Optimizing Ingredients

How Microencapsulation Delivers Food and other Bioactive Ingredients in Aquaculture

According to Lee (2003), pelleting is a process that is used to produce diets for aquatic species. Microencapsulation has been used over the years to improve the stability of feed particles in water, which is important in aquatic feedstuffs. However, feeding of pelleted diets may become difficult to digestion and therefore kill fish larvae because of gut filling. Marine fish, during larvae stage need to be fed live diets until metamorphosis, and only after this period they can be fed an inert feed (Blair et al., 2003). Yufera et al. (1999) working with microencapsulated diets prepared by interfacial polymerization of protein, found satisfactory larval growth in marine fish. These authors concluded that microencapsulated diets can become an alternative to replace live food in the early larval stages. Chen et al., (1992) working with arginine as dietary supplement in juvenile Penaeus monodon marine shrimp found a higher weight gain and feed conversion rate of shrimp fed microencapsulated L-arginine when compared to crystalline L-arginine. They suggested that microencapsulation was an important technique to help in satisfying the amino acids requirements of shrimp. Additionally, slow release ascorbic acid is available commercially for use in pelleted aquaculture diets. Shrimp have a requirement for ascorbic acid.


Microencapsulation is poised to overcome age old processing issues that were once thought of as impossible in fish farming. The process can be used as an alternative to replace live food in the early stages of marine lives until metamorphosis. Shrimp fed coated microencapsulated L-arginine exhibit higher weight gain and improved feed conversion compared to shrimp fed crystalline uncoated arginine. A technology that has been used to deliver benefits to the food and nutritional industries as well as delivering nutrients to the animal industry now stands on the cusp to deliver functional cost savings benefits to the aquaculture industry. Specifically, microencapsulation protects the shelf life and stability of labile ingredients, protects ingredients from air, light and metals to maintain potency and deliver the ingredient to a specific site and delivering it at a desired release rate.


  1. Blair, T., J. Castell, S. Neil, L. D’Abramo, C. Cahu, P. Harmon, K. Ogunmoye. 2003. Evaluation of microdiets versus live feeds on growth, survival and fatty acid composition of larval haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus). Aquaculture. 225:451-461.
  2. Chen, H. Y., Y. T. Leu, and I. Roelants. 1992. Effective supplementation of arginine in the diets of juvenile marine shrimp, Penaeus monodon. Aquaculture. 108:87-95.
  3. Lee, C. S. 2003. Biotechnological advances in finfish hatchery production: A review. Aquaculture. 227: 439-458.
  4. Yúfera M., E. Pascual, C. Fernández-Díaz. 1999. A highly efficient microencapsulated food for rearing early larvae of marine fish. Aquaculture 177, 249-256.

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