A dietary supplement protects the lives of farm shrimp

February 21, 2007

The lives of shrimp have been saved by a dietary supplement which prevents infection by pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria. Could this put a stop to the use of antibiotics?

Brine shrimp which were fed a compound called poly-â-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) were prevented from becoming infected with pathogenic bacteria. Professor Willy Verstraete and colleagues at Ghent University in Belgium reported these findings in the February issue of 'Environmental Microbiology'.

The bacteria Vibrio campbellii are antibiotic resistant and cause significant loss in the fish farming industry (aquaculture) as an outbreak cannot be treated with antibiotics. Adding PHB to the culture water significantly decreased the number of brine shrimp which were killed by Vibrio campbellii. The shrimp had 'eaten' the PHB and become protected from infection.

PHB is a naturally-occurring compound which is produced and used by microbes as a form of energy storage. It is metabolised when other common energy sources are not available. It is also a source of butyrate which keeps the gut healthy.

"We recently found that PHB-containing bacteria can also be used to protect the shrimp from the vibrios (without extracting the compound from the bacteria) and we are currently testing the potential of such microbes in other animal models. Given the fact that PHB can be produced on an industrial scale for a reasonable price, PHB addition to animal diets would be an alternative to antibiotics that is not only effective, but also economically attractive. In this respect, our findings might contribute to a more sustainable animal production." said Professor Verstraete and his collaborator Tom Defoirdt.

This finding has important implications for infection reduction, not only in fish farming, as we may be able to reduce, or even replace the use of antibiotics. The ecological and health benefits in avoiding the use of antibiotics are many-fold. It may even be possible to protect other organisms from pathogenic bacteria using a dietary supplement based on this microbial storage product.
-end-


Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Related Bacteria Articles from Brightsurf:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.

How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.

Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.

Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.

Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.

How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.

The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.

Read More: Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.