Twelve minerals were screened to identify key dietary minerals important for Penaeus monodon growth. The minerals selected included boron, calcium plus phosphorus (assessed in tandem at a 1:1 ratio), cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, sodium, strontium and zinc. Twelve purified casein/gelatin-based diets were formulated and contained minerals at two levels: below expected requirements, as attributed by the basal formulation (-) and above expected requirements by adding inorganic minerals (+). The two levels were allocated to dietary treatments in juvenile prawns in accordance with the PB design. A two-level screening analysis was employed where effect of each mineral at level - or + across twelve diets were compared to identify the minerals of importance for culture performance of juvenile prawns. Calcium plus phosphorus (at a 1:1 ratio), magnesium, boron, manganese, selenium and zinc produced the greatest positive effects on weight gain, feed conversion efficiency, biomass gain and nutrient/energy retention. Particularly, boron and manganese significantly increased retention of key macronutrients and energy including gross energy, crude protein and crude lipid. Our study demonstrates the importance of several macro and trace minerals in prawn diets and the pressing need to refine their requirements for P. monodon.
Keywords: body composition; crustacean aquaculture; mineral requirements; nutrient retention; shrimp.