The use of organic acids and their salts in shrimp production has gained attention in recent years. Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) known to induce the production of host defense peptides in vertebrates and lower animals could be useful as biocontrol agents to control bacterial diseases in animal production and more specifically aquaculture. Supplementation of SCFAs improves nitrogen retention, protein efficiency rate, survival and yield in shrimp. SCFAs their salts affect the growth performance of aquatic animals through distinct mechanisms. These acids act as preserving agents, inhibiting microbial growth and diminishing a possible intake of pathogenic organisms. SCFA supplemented diet increases the productivity of white leg shrimp cultivated in biofloc system and has an immunostimulant effect, increasing the hemocyte count.
Bacterial toxins produced by Vibrio in shrimp damages intestine lining. Recently it has been shown that SCFA, when present in blood, stimulates a peptide that increases the absorption of glucose from the intestine. These peptides stimulate the development and repair of the intestinal tract through an increase in cell proliferation. SCFA induces heat shock proteins in intestinal epithelial cells and protects against oxidant injury. These damages have been repaired by using SCFAs. Beneficial effects also include stimulation of digestive enzyme production, enhanced development of intestinal villi, reduction of acute inflammatory responses, increased GIT retention time.