Hatchery International has frequently described experiments that explored the potential of probiotics as feed supplements. The theory is that benign bacteria in the guts of fishes at all stages of development from larvae to broodstock, decrease the likelihood of pathogenic bacteria gaining a foothold; natural processes such as digestion and assimilation are enhanced, leading to better growth, disease resistance, and survival.
BioMar is now including probiotics, specifically a strain of Pediococcus acidilactici CNCM MA 18/5M (trade-name Bactocell®) into both hatchery and growout diets formulated at BioMar facilities in Europe and Chile. Their confidence in this move comes from research conducted on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and from Chile, where Bactocell® is now incorporated into commercial diets.
The Chilean research was conducted in collaboration with Aquachile, a major producer of Atlantic- and coho salmon, and trout, at their facilities in Quetroleufu. According to information from the company fry showed a 40% reduction in skeletal deformities and better growth performance.
But there were also improvements in intestinal histology, says Biomar: the distal (posterior) part of the intestines of fish fed the probiotic was significantly thicker than in control fish.
Andrés Millan, Sales Director of BioMar Chile, explains that this was due to the increased length of the intestinal microvilli, which in turn leads to improved nutrient adsorption, hence better feed conversion and growth. Research in the UK and Chile also confirmed an improvement in the immune response of juvenile salmon fed Bactocell.