News 951 views last update:6 Aug 2012

New probiotic promising in shellfish aquaculture

The use of probiotic bacteria, isolated from naturally-occurring bacterial communities, is gaining in popularity in the aquaculture industry as the preferred, environmentally-friendly management alternative to the use of antibiotics and other antimicrobials for disease prevention.

Probiotic bacteria isolated can be used to improve survival, nutrition and disease prevention in larvae grown in shellfish hatcheries.
Researchers at NOAA's Milford Laboratory in Milford, Connecticut, USA have shown that naturally-occurring bacteria isolated from the digestive glands of adult eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and northern bay scallops (Argopecten irradians irradians) may be used as potential probiotic candidates in oyster larviculture.
Two related research studies published in the Journal of Shellfish Research identify a new probiotic bacterium, designated OY15, which has been shown to significantly improve larval survival in pilot-scale trials during the first two weeks of life, the most critical stage for the organism when mortality rates are among the highest.
"We are cautiously optimistic that this probiotic candidate, OY15, will offer a number of significant benefits to the shellfish industry," said Gary Wikfors, co-author of both studies and head of the Milford Laboratory's Biotechnology Branch.
"Commercial and public shellfish hatcheries can have low survival rates for shellfish seed during the first two weeks, so improving those survival rates and the health of the organisms beyond that point is a pretty significant step forward."

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