Benedict Standen
Product Manager

Benedict Standen completed his PhD at Plymouth University, UK, in 2015 where he researched the effects of functional feeds in aquatic species. He joined BIOMIN in 2016 as a Product Manager, based in the Gut Performance Competence Centre and responsible for microbial, phytogenic and acidifier products across the aquaculture portfolio. As well as typical product manager duties, he provides technical support to clients across the world, supporting their growth and development, primarily through the use of feed and water additives. In addition, for 2 years he has been coordinating the global aqua strategy for BIOMIN, supporting a sustainable and profitable growth model for the company, its clients, and the wider aquaculture sector.

Session 4 Margin Optimisation
Presentation Getting It Right: Microbial Management In Shrimp Hatchery And Ponds


Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. This can also be applied in shrimp culture, where microbial management has gained increasing importance in recent years. Regardless of production system, the shrimp culture environment is an entire ecosystem and there are considerably more lifeforms than the post larvae themselves. The pond ecosystem especially, supports bacteria, protists, viruses, phytoplankton and zooplankton. Although complex, a healthy pond must be in a stable state of equilibrium; any deviation from ‘normal’ pond conditions can have negative consequences on shrimp health and growth. What we need to define, is what ‘normal’ means, and how the microbes, mostly bacteria, can drive different processes and outcomes, which may be helpful or a hindrance for shrimp production.

In terms of microbial management, initial efforts focused on culturing shrimp in a clean, almost sterile, environment. This involved extensive attempts to remove all bacteria from the culture environment, typically by disinfection. The objective was to remove, or at least reduce the pathogen load, specifically Vibrio. However, it soon became evident that this was not working as expected; in fact, the opposite effect was being observed and it was suggested that this practice is even favouring the spread of disease, especially EMS/AHPND. Now we know that these disinfection techniques are broad spectra, so as well as removing ‘bad’ bacteria, we are also removing the ‘good’ and commensal bacteria, which have an important role in competitively excluding the pathogens. This approach favors r-strategists which are opportunistic and fast growing in nature, as opposed to K-strategists which are slower growing but given time can stabilize the water and have lower nutrient requirements. Our management style today has shifted to drive the growth of these bacteria and manipulate population dynamics to encourage K-strategists through the use of mature water, with probiotic supplementation and bioremediation tools.

A lot of microbial research has focused on the hatchery, and this is not surprising. When shrimp hatch, their gut is relatively sterile, so they are extremely sensitive to opportunistic pathogens. By controlling the microbiota in the water, it is possible to allow a natural, and healthy, establishment of probiotic bacteria from first feeding, which in turn can drive gut health and immune development. This can be further boosted through the use of feed-based probiotics, either through live or artificial feeds. By providing the best start in life for shrimp, the benefits that can be achieved at the hatchery phase, can be seen throughout the entire production cycle.

This presentation will look at how microbial management throughout the culture cycle is a key driver for optimal production, and therefore a large contributor of profitability.