Probiotics for Disease Control in Aquaculture

Technology Overview

With the global aquaculture market projected to grow to meet increasing global demand, control of disease outbreaks will become increasingly important. Use of antibiotics has associated public health concerns, including generation of drug-resistant pathogens. Thus, alternatives for disease control are needed. In particular, probiotics is a promising approach, one that has significant activity in both crops and human health.

Our US university partner has identified several probiotic Bacillus strains with demonstrated ability to mediate disease control and weight gain in farmed fish such as catfish and tilapia. These strains can be easily administered to the fish via a pelleted feed formulation. This technology is available for exclusive or non-exclusive licensing; and joint development (e.g. funded research and joint proposal).

Technology Features & Specifications

This technology uses Bacillus strain cultures isolated from their natural environment in the soil and aquaculture to produce the probiotics. The probiotics prevent aquatic disease infection in young fishes through inducing a healthy biological system in the body. This occurs by allowing the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system which then inhibits the bad ones. Over time, the balanced of good microbial gut bacteria can lead to an enhanced immunity towards specific pathogenic that the respective fish species are susceptible to. The probiotic is formulated into fish feed and administered by feeding. The use of this probiotic feed has been tried and tested on mainly two commonly farmed fish species, tilapia and catfish. 

Pond studies showed:
1) channel catfish mortality from A. hydrophila reduced from 70% to 10%;
2) about 15% increase in weight gain (unchallenged), and
3) improved water quality

Furthermore, initial screening has identified strains with antimicrobial activity towards common fish pathogens such as E. tarda, Streptococcus iniae, Y. ruckeri, F. columnare, and Saprolegnia ferax. 

The technology is patented/patent pending in multiple countries including USA, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam etc. 

Potential Applications

The aquaculture industry has always faced the challenge of improving the survival rates of their fish stock by preventing and controlling disease outbreak on top of water conditions. Here, the probiotics provide this solution as it controls commercially relevant diseases in multiple fish species and thereby reducing the fish mortality rate.

Another application would be the use of probiotic as a feed ingredient. Besides its use for commercially farmed food fish, there is also has high potential in formulating of ornamental fish feed for high-value fish species.

Customer Benefits

• A safe and sustainable alternative to antibiotics
• Reduced mortality has been shown for multiple diseases in multiple species
• Antagonistic activity has been demonstrated against numerous aquatic diseases
• Increased weight gain shown in tested fish species
• Strains are amenable to scale-up and various types of formulation (including feed)

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