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Keywords:

  • aquaculture;
  • fish and shellfish;
  • immuno-haematology;
  • oxidative stress;
  • microbiota;
  • probiotics

Summary

To meet the ever-increasing demand for animal protein, aquaculture continuously requires new techniques to increase the production yield. However, with every step towards intensification of aquaculture practices, there is an increase in stress level on the animal as well as on the environment. Feeding practices in aqua farming usually plays an important role, and the addition of various additives to a balanced feed formula to achieve better growth is a common practice among the fish and shrimp culturists. Probiotics, also known as ‘bio-friendly agents’, such as LAB (Lactobacillus), yeasts and Bacillus sp., can be introduced into the culture environment to control and compete with pathogenic bacteria as well as to promote the growth of the cultured organisms. In addition, probiotics are non-pathogenic and non-toxic micro-organisms, having no undesirable side effects when administered to aquatic organisms. Probiotics are also known to play an important role in developing innate immunity among the fishes, and hence help them to fight against any pathogenic bacterias as well as against environmental stressors. The present review is a brief but informative compilation of the different essential and desirable traits of probiotics, their mode of action and their useful effects on fishes. The review also highlights the role of probiotics in helping the fishes to combat against the different physical, chemical and biological stress.