Gut Microbiota and its Modulation for Healthy Farming of Pacific White Shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei

Erchao Li, Chang Xu, Xiaodan Wang, Shifeng Wang, Qun Zhao, Meiling Zhang, Jian G. Qin, Liqiao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


The Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei is the most important crustacean species in aquaculture, accounting for 70% of the total shrimp production in the world. In the past decade, development of the shrimp industry has been greatly impeded by disease prevalence, poor growth in low salinity inland water, dietary use of plant ingredients, and antibiotic overuse. The animal gut is a vital organ, and most of the gut functions, such as the functions of immunity, health regulation and nutrient absorption, are achieved by bacterial metabolism in the gut. Therefore, understanding the role of the gut microbiota of L. vannamei is important for improving the performance and production of L. vannamei in aquaculture. This paper summarizes the recent advancements in research on the composition of the gut microbiota of L. vannamei, the factors that influence the microbiota, and nutritional manipulation of the gut microbiota. In addition, based on the review, current problems are raised and future studies directed at solving these problems are proposed. Proteobacteria is the core bacterial group found the gut of L. vannamei, but other groups of bacteria can also be beneficial to shrimp health and growth. The abundance of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria in the gut can change with the developmental stage of the shrimp, diet composition, environmental factors, and in the presence of ambient toxicants such as sulfide. Various prebiotics, probiotics isolated from the gut of L. vannamei and other crustacean species, synbiotics and some organic acids have been used as dietary supplements to evaluate the health of L. vannamei farms. These additives have been compared for their roles in regulating shrimp growth and immunity and in shaping the community structure of the gut microbiota. Future studies should focus on understanding the underlying mechanisms between shrimp metabolism and the gut microbiota and on practical applications of dietary additives to solve problems faced by the shrimp industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-399
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Diet components
  • environmental factors
  • intestine
  • microbiota
  • prebiotics
  • probiotics


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