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Probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotics as an alternative to antibiotics in tilapia farming

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By Milthon Lujan

In the world of aquaculture, there is a priority interest in identifying alternatives to antibiotics that are inexpensive, reduce the risk of diseases, and have no residual or dangerous effects.

Different substances have been tested, and probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotics are considered the most favorable options.

Researchers from Sylhet Agricultural University compared the effects of probiotics, prebiotics, and their synergies against antibiotics on the growth performance and hematology of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus).

They designed the study using five treatments: control, antibiotics, commercial probiotics, spirulina as a prebiotic, and symbiotic (probiotic and prebiotic).

Effects on growth

All treatments showed significant improvements in growth and feed utilization parameters. The highest final weight and weight gain were found in the symbiotic treatment.

Additionally, the symbiotic treatment had the highest specific growth rate, which was not significant when compared to the probiotic treatment or the prebiotic treatment, but significant when compared to the antibiotic and control treatments.

Feed conversion

Feed conversion is an indicator of feed efficiency, and lower values indicate higher feeding efficiencies.

According to the study results, the probiotic treatment had the lowest feed conversion rate, followed by the prebiotic and symbiotic treatments.

Furthermore, the highest protein efficiency ratio was observed in the probiotic treatment, which is significant when compared to the other treatments.

Production Costs

The scientists also evaluated the production costs of each treatment used in the research and determined that the treatments with probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotics had higher costs than antibiotics.

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The probiotic treatment had the highest cost-benefit ratio among the other treatments, indicating that probiotics are more economically beneficial.

“Probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotics showed a significant difference in growth performance and feed utilization parameters compared to antibiotics,” they reported.

Discussion

“In our study, the highest weight gain, specific growth rate, and lower feed conversion values were observed in diets supplemented with probiotics,” the study reports.

The research shows that treatments with probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotics result in better growth performance and feed utilization compared to antibiotic treatment.

“Considering the health risks of antibiotics and the beneficial effect of probiotics, prebiotics, and their synergies on growth and feed utilization, their use could be recommended as an alternative to antibiotics in aquaculture,” they emphasized.

Conclusion

“Due to recent concerns about public health issues related to the use of antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotics are the most viable alternatives as they promote growth and enhance the antimicrobial properties of fish intestines,” the scientists concluded.

The study revealed that probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotics had a positive effect on fish growth, hematology, liver histology, and improved feed utilization parameters compared to antibiotics.

However, due to the wide range of antibiotics, probiotics, and prebiotics, the researchers recommend further investigation into the effectiveness of different administration methods and different sizes and ages of fish.

The study was funded by the Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS), Grant of Advanced Research in Education (GARE), and National Science and Technology (NST).

Contact
Nirmal Chandra Roy
Department of Fish Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Fisheries
Sylhet Agricultural University
Sylhet-3100, Bangladesh
Email: ncroy@sau.ac.bd

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Reference (open access)
Marjana Jannat Munni, Kazi Rabeya Akther, Shamim Ahmed, Mohammad Amzad Hossain, Nirmal Chandra Roy, “Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics as an Alternative to Antibiotics on Growth and Blood Profile of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)“, Aquaculture Research, vol. 2023, Article ID 2798279, 12 pages, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1155/2023/2798279

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