Improvement of Shrimp Culture by Biotechnology
Chemicals have been employed in shrimp culture to kill bacteria in water, to kill fish, to adjust water pH, to treat bacterial infections and others. Some of these chemicals have the negative impact on the environment, shrimp and shrimp consumers. For instance, antibiotics residue in the shrimp could jeopardize human health upon consumption of the shrimp. Therefore, it is preferable to replace chemicals with proper management, or with natural means, or by biological products.
Having a reservoir, with natural fish, bivalves, and seaweed provides pristine water for shrimp ponds; the water quality is better than that is treated by chemicals, which also kill natural bacteria that are profitable to shrimp. Probiotics, added in shrimp feed, protect shrimp from certain bacterial and viral infections, thus reducing the use of antibiotics. Vaccines, which are killed bacteria or viruses, provide protection against specific pathogens. Immuno-enhancers like beta glucans, peptidoglycans, lipopolysaccharides provide additional protection by stimulating nonspecific defence in the shrimp.
Probiotics, vaccines and immuno-enhancers are biological products. Although their efficacy is limited at present, antibiotics, which is the other choice, do not provide a better result either. Research to improve the efficacy of these products should be encouraged for good production, and more importantly, for safe consumption of cultured shrimp.
Source: Boonsirm Withyachumnarnkul, Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand – ASEAN Biotechnology