Dietary supplements of aquatic animals
An important key to culture of any fed species is the development of sustainable, cost-effective and nutritionally complete feeds, along with efficient feed management systems. Emerging technologies for improving the gut environment are being rigorously studied and are beginning to be applied in aquaculture feeds. Use of probiotics in feeds, although successful in human and animal nutrition, is not well accepted in aquaculture. Improved delivery methods and better understanding of gut microflora of aquatic animals could change this in the future (Balcázar et al. 2006).
Use of immunostimulants and stress diets to improve the defense of animals during critical stressful periods, have been promoted in the commercial feed sector. Compounds have been suggested such as beta-glucans, bacterial products and plant derivatives which have the potential to activate the innate defense mechanisms by acting as receptors which trigger gene activation (Galindo-Villegas and Hosokawa, 2004).
Probiotics and prebiotics are at a similar stage in research, attracting much attention (Balcazar et al., 2006).
Organic acids and essential oils have been suggested to modulate gut microbial communities, improving resistance to some opportunistic enteric pathogens (Luckstadt, 2008), improving conditions for healthy gut flora while reducing concentrations of potentially pathogenic strains of bacteria (Luckstadt, 2008; Ringo et al., 2010).
In general, the use of dietary supplements and nutritional strategies which may modulate overall fitness, gut health and immune responses. It may be envisaged that useful products will be available in the future, contributing to greater aquaculture sustainability by avoiding the use of drugs.
Source: Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010 – Farming the Waters for People and Food
Image source: Fooducate 2013