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El reto del crecimiento de la acuicultura en América Latina: causas y desafíos

Challenges and Contemplations of Using Probiotics in Aquaculture

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By Arya Singh, Nayan Chouhan, Vivek Chauhan and Bhavesh Choudhary

Probiotics have emerged as a promising tool in this endeavor, offering a natural and sustainable approach to enhance growth, boost immunity, and mitigate disease. However, integrating probiotics into aquaculture practices comes with its own set of challenges and considerations that necessitate careful attention and strategic planning.

Introduction

Probiotic use in aquaculture has attracted a lot of interest as a possible microbial method to improve the general health and wellbeing of different aquatic species raised in aquaculture environments (Singh et al., 2023). In the ever-evolving landscape of aquaculture, maintaining the health and productivity of aquatic organisms is paramount.

Probiotics have emerged as a promising tool in this endeavor, offering a natural and sustainable approach to enhance growth, boost immunity, and mitigate disease. However, integrating probiotics into aquaculture practices comes with its own set of challenges and considerations that necessitate careful attention and strategic planning.

The Greek word “for life” is the source of the term “probiotics.” Probiotics are described as “live micro-organisms” by an expert group that was tasked by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) with improving the host’s health when given in sufficient quantities.

Probiotic products typically contain microorganisms from the following genera: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Escherichia, Enterococcus Bacillus, and Streptococcus. There have also been some uses of Saccharomyces fungal strains (Gupta et al., 2009).

In addition to all of these advantages, probiotics in aquaculture come with a number of difficulties.

El reto del crecimiento de la acuicultura en América Latina: causas y desafíos

Strain Selection

The efficacy of probiotics largely depends on the selection of appropriate strains that are compatible with the target species and the aquaculture environment. Research and trials are necessary to identify the most effective probiotic candidates for specific applications. Selecting the right strain of probiotics is a crucial process, as different strains can elicit diverse effects on human health.

This decision involves several challenges and considerations that must be carefully evaluated.

1. One of the primary challenges lies in understanding the specific health benefits associated with each strain. Probiotics can target various conditions, such as gut health, immune support, and even mental well-being, so it is vital to choose a strain with the desired therapeutic properties.

2. The viability and stability of the chosen strain during storage and transit are essential factors. Probiotics are living organisms, and their efficacy depends on their ability to survive the harsh conditions of manufacturing, transportation, and storage before reaching the consumer. Ensuring high viability is crucial to guarantee their effectiveness.

3. Another critical consideration is strain safety. While most probiotic strains are generally safe for consumption, certain individuals, such as those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions, may experience adverse reactions.

Therefore, it is necessary to select strains that are well-studied and have a proven safety profile. Additionally, strain diversity and synergistic effects within probiotic formulations should be taken into account. Combining multiple strains that work well together can potentially enhance the overall health benefits, making it essential to understand the interplay of different strains.

El reto del crecimiento de la acuicultura en América Latina: causas y desafíos

Formulation and Stability

Developing stable and effective probiotic formulations for aquaculture feeds or water supplements can be challenging. Factors such as temperature, pH, and shelf life need to be considered to maintain the viability and functionality of the probiotic strains.

The formulation and stability of probiotics present significant challenges and considerations in the development of effective and reliable products. One of the primary challenges lies in formulating probiotics to ensure their viability and potency throughout their shelf life.

Maintaining their viability during storage and distribution is crucial for their efficacy.

However, factors such as temperature fluctuations, moisture, and exposure to light can adversely impact their stability, leading to reduced potency and diminished health benefits. Ensuring the survival of probiotic strains in harsh conditions, such as the acidic environment of the stomach, is another critical consideration.

El reto del crecimiento de la acuicultura en América Latina: causas y desafíos

Many probiotics must pass through the digestive system before reaching the intestines, where they exert their beneficial effects. There fore, formulating probiotics with protective coatings or encapsulation techniques to shield them from gastric acidity is a complex task.

Moreover, the compatibility of probiotics with various delivery formats poses challenges. Probiotics can be found in various forms, such as capsules, tablets, powders, and even food products. Each format has unique requirements for stability and preservation, necessitating careful formulation to maintain the probiotic’s viability while ensuring consumer convenience.

Standardization and quality control are also essential considerations in probiotic formulation.

Consistent manufacturing processes and rigorous quality control measures are necessary to ensure that the labeled probiotic content matches the actual content and potency. The packaging of probiotics is another crucial aspect to consider.

Light, oxygen, and moisture can all degrade probiotic viability, so choosing appropriate packaging materials that protect against these elements is essential.

Regulatory Approval

Clear guidelines and regulations governing the use of probiotics in aquaculture are essential to ensure their safe and responsible application. One significant challenge is the lack of a standardized definition for probiotics, as various strains and formulations exist, each with unique properties and potential health benefits.

This variability makes it difficult for regulatory agencies to establish consistent guidelines for evaluation.

Safety is a paramount concern when it comes to probiotics, especially considering their widespread use in food and dietary supplements. The potential for adverse effects, particularly in vulnerable populations like fry, adult, or immune compromised fish, demands rigorous safety assessments.

Moreover, determining the appropriate dosage and duration of probiotic use requires extensive research to avoid unintended consequences. Another important factor in regulatory approval is efficacy.

While probiotics have demonstrated potential outcomes in a variety of health issues, the data basis for particular applications can be in consistent and limited. Clinical trial data must be thoroughly evaluated by regulatory organizations to see if the claimed health advantages are backed by strong scientific evidence.

Standardization and quality control are also major concerns. To ensure the viability and stability of the living microorganisms throughout the product’s shelf life, the production procedure for probiotics must conform to high quality requirements.

It is critical to ensure consistency in the strength and composition of probiotics in order to achieve the intended health benefits. Furthermore, it is important to examine closely any concerns that may arise regarding labeling and marketing claims.

Claims that are misleading or overstated might lead to customer misunderstanding and erroneous expectations. Therefore, regulatory agencies must closely scrutinize product labeling and advertising to safeguard public health and prevent misinformation.

El reto del crecimiento de la acuicultura en América Latina: causas y desafíos

Competition with Indigenous Microflora

Within the complex ecosystem of the fish body, probiotic bacteria and native microflora compete with one another in a complex and dynamic interplay. Probiotics are good bacteria that are well-known for improving health. They compete with the body’s natural microflora, or the community of germs that live there, for resources and dominance.

This competition mostly takes place in the gastrointestinal tract, where native microflora and probiotics compete with one another to take up spaces and become established.

Probiotics seek to balance the microbial ecology in the gut in order to produce their advantageous effects.

They might face competition from native microflora for resources necessary for their survival, such as adherence sites throughout the gut lining and readily available nutrients.

The entire diversity and composition of the gut microbiota may be impacted by this competitive environment. It’s important to understand that, in spite of this competition, keeping a healthy gut requires a balance between native microorganisms and probiotics.

El reto del crecimiento de la acuicultura en América Latina: causas y desafíos

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Probiotics, like any other aquaculture input, come with associated costs. Conducting cost-benefit analyses can help farmers assess the economic viability of probiotic supplementation in their operations.

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a vital tool used to evaluate the economic implications of implementing probiotic products, which are gaining increasing attention for their potential health benefits.

However, conducting a CBA for probiotics poses several challenges and requires careful considerations to yield accurate and reliable results.

Determining the true effectiveness of probiotics can be complex. While researchers suggest that probiotics can have positive impacts on gut health and immunity, their effects may vary significantly depending on the strain, dosage, and the health condition they aim to address.

Establishing a clear cause-and-effect relationship between probiotic consumption and specific health outcomes is crucial for accurate CBA but can be challenging due to individual variability and the presence of confounding factors. The economic evaluation of probiotics also requires accounting for the diverse range of health conditions they target.

From digestive disorders to immune-related illnesses, each condition’s prevalence, severity, and economic burden can differ significantly. Estimating the potential cost savings and benefits across such a broad spectrum of health issues requires comprehensive data and reliable models.

Another challenge lies in accurately quantifying the economic benefits of probiotics beyond direct health outcomes. Probiotics might contribute to improved quality of life, reduced absenteeism, and enhanced fish productivity.

Additionally, the cost component of CBA involves not only the price of probiotic products but also the expenses associated with research, development, marketing, and distribution. Determining the true costs can be difficult, especially as the probiotic industry continues to evolve and expand.

In conclusion, while cost-benefit analysis can be a valuable tool for evaluating probiotics’ economic implications, it is essential to acknowledge and address the challenges and considerations unique to this field.

El reto del crecimiento de la acuicultura en América Latina: causas y desafíos

Conclusion

In conclusion, the integration of probiotics in aquaculture presents a promising avenue for enhancing the health and productivity of aquatic organisms. However, careful consideration of challenges is imperative. Strain selection demands understanding therapeutic properties, viability, safety, and compatibility.

Formulation challenges involve maintaining viability, protection during transit, and adherence to regulatory standards.

Regulatory approval faces difficulties in defining and ensuring safety and efficacy. Competition with indigenous microflora, host specificity, and conducting accurate cost-benefit analyses are critical considerations.

Probiotics’ potential long-term benefits and multifaceted economic impacts further complicate assessments. Addressing these challenges necessitates collaboration between stakeholders, rigorous research, and adherence to evolving regulatory frameworks.

Ultimately, navigating the complexities of probiotic use in aquaculture requires a balanced approach, integrating scientific advancements with regulatory diligence, to ensure the sustainable and effective incorporation of probiotics into aquaculture practices.

References and sources consulted by the author on the elaboration of this article are available under previous request to our editorial staff.
Arya Singh1, Nayan Chouhan2*, Vivek Chauhan3, Bhavesh choudhary2
1ICAR – Central Institutes of Fisheries Education, Mumbai, 400061
2College of Fisheries, Central Agricultural University, Lembucherra, Tripura, 799210
3College of Fisheries Science, CCSHAU, Hisar, Haryana, 125004
*E-mail: nayan101chouhan@alphaclawinc

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