Profile of fatty acids and amino acids in Great Salt Lake preadults cultured under flow-through conditions on a diet of corn and soybean powder compared to nauplii.
On the other hand the lipid profile, quantitatively as well as qualitatively, is variable and a reflection of the diet offered to the Artemia cultures This does not necessarily restrict their application since high levels of essential fatty acids can easily and very quickly be attained in the Artemia biomass by applying simple bio-encapsulation: i.e., in less than 1 h the digestive tract of the brine shrimp can be filled with a HUFA enrichment product, boosting the (n-3) HUFA content from a low level of 3 mg.g-1 DW up to levels of more than 50 mg.g-1.
Artemia juveniles and adults are used as a nursery diet not only for their optimal nutritional value but for energetic advantages as well, i.e. when offered large Artemia instead of freshly-hatched nauplii, the predator larvae need to chase and ingest less prey organisms per unit of time to meet their food requirements.
This improved energy balance may result in a better growth, a faster developmental rate, and/or an improved physiological condition as has been demonstrated in e.g. lobster, shrimp, mahi-mahi, halibut and Lates larviculture. For the latter species, the introduction of ongrown Artemia as a hatchery/nursery food resulted in significant savings of Artemia cysts of up to 60% and consequently a significant reduction in the total larval feed cost. In the early larviculture of lobster, Homarus spp., feeding biomass instead of nauplii has proven to reduce cannibalism adequately.
Until recently, applications with ongrown Artemia were never taken up at an industrial level because of the limited availability of live or frozen biomass, its high cost and variable quality. Technologies developed in the eighties for setting up intensive pond and super-intensive tank production systems of brine shrimp in or near the aquaculture farm have resulted in increased interest for Artemia biomass during the last decade.
In China, several thousand tons of Artemia biomass have been collected from the Bohai Bay salt ponds and used in the local hatcheries and grow-out facilities of Chinese white shrimp, Penaeus chinensis. Also the aquarium pet shop industry offers good marketing opportunities for live Artemia biomass produced in regional culture systems. Today, over 95% of the more than 3000 metric tons of Artemia biomass that are marketed in this sector are sold frozen since they are harvested from a restricted number of natural sources and live transportation to other continents is cost prohibitive. Singapore, for example, already experiences a bottleneck where the local tropical aquarium industry is threatened by a shortage of live foods.