Submitted to: Journal of Aquaculture Research and Development
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/21/2011
Publication Date: 11/30/2011
Citation: Welker, T.L., Lim, C.E. 2011. Use of probiotics in diets of Tilapia. Journal of Agriculture Research and Development. S1:014. doi:10.4172/2155-9546.S1-014.
Interpretive Summary: Intensive fish culture often leads to reduced water quality and other conditions which can cause stress. Disease outbreaks from increased stress exposure are a problem for fish farmers producing significant losses in revenue each year. Traditionally, antibiotics and other chemicals were used to treat disease outbreaks in cultured fish. However, the scope of use for most antibiotics is very narrow or their use is banned outright in many countries and concern over development of antibiotic resistant pathogens, the presence of antibiotic residues in fish tissue, and negative impacts on microbial populations in the aquaculture environment will further limit use in the future. Therefore, emphasis has been placed on finding safe and effective alternatives to prevent and treat bacterial and viral diseases in fish. Dietary probiotic bacteria have received the most attention as a viable alternative in treatment of fish diseases. Probiotics increase immunity by colonizing the fish gut thereby preventing colonization by disease-causing pathogens, but probiotic supplementation in diets can also prevent disease by improving the immune response in the gut and in peripheral tissues. Probiotics added to diets of tilapia can increase disease resistance, enhance the immune response, and improve growth. Little probiotic research has been conducted in tilapias, but most of the research has been conducted within the last five years. Due to its apparent effectiveness in improving health and growth in tilapia, research and interest in probiotics is likely to continue, which will hopefully fill existing research gaps.
Technical Abstract: AAquaculture is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture globally. Production in freshwater and marine fisheries has plateaued, and the continued demand for seafood and need for affordable protein sources in third world countries will ensure growth of aquaculture in the future. Tilapia are the second most cultured fish worldwide behind the carps, and even though they are easily cultured in a wide variety of environments and are resistant to aquaculture stressors, significant losses to disease still occur under intensive culture. Traditionally, antibiotics and other chemicals have been used to treat disease outbreaks in cultured fish species. However, the scope of approved application for most antibiotics is very narrow or their use is banned outright in many countries and concern over development of antibiotic resistant pathogens will further limit use in the future. The focus instead has turned to finding safe and effective means of preventing infectious diseases in cultured finfish, including tilapia. In recent years, there has been considerable interest in the use of probiotic bacteria added to diets to increase immunity as well as improve growth performance in fish. Little probiotic research has been conducted in tilapias, but of the research that has been performed, most has taken place within the last five years. Due to its apparent effectiveness in improving health and growth in tilapia, research and interest in probiotics is likely to continue, which will hopefully fill existing research gaps.