Creatine improves flesh quality on mammalian but studies on crustaceans are scarce. In the present study, diets with six levels of creatine (1.23, 2.58, 5.12, 8.28, 14.12, 24.49 g kg diet) were hand-fed to juvenile Litopenaeus vannamei (IBW: 1.50 ± 0.02 g) reared in freshwater for 46 days. Results showed creatine supplementation did not affect the growth performance (FBW: 17.04 ± 1.28 g) or the content of guanidinoacetic acid in muscle and hepatopancreas whereas significantly increased muscular creatine content. Diet with 8.28 g kg creatine significantly increased muscular hardness and chewiness by decreasing myofiber diameter and increasing myofiber density. Additionally, creatine downregulated the mRNA expression of fast sMyHC1, sMyHC2, sMyHC6a and upregulated slow sMyHC5 and sMyHC15 mRNA expression. Muscular protein, collagen, total amino acid and flavor amino acid contents increased with creatine supplementation. In conclusion, the diet with 8.28 g kg creatine improved the flesh quality of L. vannamei.
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