†These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Graham Pawelec
Background: The Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (E. sinensis), is a popular crab species in both domestic and foreign markets. Trash fish are essential for E. sinensis breeding, but have caused serious water pollution. The municipal party committee for the main production areas of E. sinensis implemented a ban on feeding on trash fish since 2020. Methods: In this study, we performed a culture experiment of E. sinensis feeding on trash fish and formulated feed, with comparative transcriptome analysis on hepatopancreas of E. sinensis. Results: The results indicate that formulated feed causes no significant difference in growth, survival rate or content of amino acids in the muscles of adult E. sinensis. Formulated feed caused a slight downregulation of pathways involved in amino acid metabolism, development, energy metabolism and homeostasis maintenance. Conclusions: On the whole, formulated feed can serve as an undifferentiated substitution for trash fish. This study provides a theoretical foundation for optimizing research on E. sinensis feed.