Establishment and Utilization of Tools for Enhancing Foodfish Health
Galagarza, Oscar Andres
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Aquacultured products assist the human demands for seafood so that foodfish supplies can remain sustainable and consistent. Although the fish-farming industry has seen dramatic growth and intensification in recent years, the latter has led to an increase in bacterial diseases and fish health management problems, resulting in major economic losses around the world. In addition to the lack of understanding of fish physiology, these complications are exacerbated by the inappropriate and controversial use of antibiotics. This work addressed these issues in striped catfish (Pangasius hypophthalmus) and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), two economically important foodfish, by investigating alternative, more cost-effective options to promote fish health. The first two studies established reference intervals for immunology, hematology and plasma chemistry analytes in striped catfish in a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). In a third study, the immunomodulatory effects after directly feeding probiotic strains of Bacillus subtilis NZ86 and O14VRQ in Nile tilapia were ascertained. This last study revealed that supplementation with both of the probiotic strains for 51 days stimulated several local and systemic innate immune responses of tilapia. When these transient probiotic bacteria were present in the gut, a pro-inflammatory environment was developed as evidenced by the localized higher expression of the cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF) – α and interleukin (IL) – 1β. Significant increases (p < 0.05) were noted differentially by both probiotic strains throughout the trial in plasma lysozyme content, alternative complement activity, and in the peripheral blood leukocyte profiles. Additionally, there were trends for increased levels of phagocytosis and respiratory burst in leukocytes of the anterior kidney and spleen at the end of the trial, suggesting the potential use of these probiotic strains for improved immune-competence. These findings help to understand and clarify the potential mechanism of action associated with the increased disease resistance recorded in preliminary studies with the same probiotic strains. Implementation of the tools established and validated in this work could be useful in evaluating fish welfare situations involving striped catfish grown in RAS conditions, and also show promise for a healthier foodfish supply where antibiotic applications practices could be minimized.
- Doctoral Dissertations