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Improved procedures for flatfish larval rearing through the use of probiotic bacteria

Six partners will pursue a new, coordinated and systematic approach to improve the rearing of larval turbot using biological, non-antibiotic-dependent measures of disease control. Four different approaches will be applied to select probiotic bacteria (those that prevent the harmful effects of disease-causing microorganisms) from a large number of isolates that the partners have obtained from a range of sources. The project aims to improve larval fish health and survival, reduce the use of antibiotics, and expand the output of larval turbot, which currently restricts significant growth of the flatfish aquaculture industry. In addition, the results should be transferable to many other larval rearing systems.

The objectives of the project are:
1) to provide a large number of bacterial isolates, from a range of sources, that are potentially suitable for use as probiotics of larval flatfish, and thereby improve larval survival and health
2) to screen the above bacteria using in vitro tests to identify those suitable for use as probiotics
3) to test the disease control and nutritional effect of the selected bacteria on larval rearing on a small scale
4) to test the most promising candidate probiotics on an industrial scale
5) to transfer science-based knowledge and understanding about bacterial interactions to practical use in industrial-scale fish production sites.

Progress to Date
Bacteria found to be non-lethal to larvae and non-cytotoxic have been selected for further testing as possible probionts. Optimisation of methods of delivery of probionts to larvae is under way and experiments have begun in a large-scale larval rearing system to determine whether methods developed in the laboratory can be transferred to industry.

1) A collection of over 3 000 bacterial isolates was established for possible screening for probionts.
2) A targeted screening process was developed to identify potential probiotic bacteria more rapidly than by random screening.
3) Using targeted screening, over 8 500 colonies were screened and more than 200 antagonistic bacteria identified.
4) The potential probiotic bacteria were characterised as mainly belonging to two groups.
5) Thirty-nine possible probiotic bacteria were screened for harmful effects on turbot larvae. Based on this and cytoxicity testing, a small number of isolates were identified as potentially promising candidates for testing as probiotic bacteria.
6) Methods of delivery of probiotic bacteria to turbot larvae were developed and parameters optimised.


Scientist responsible for the project

Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Joseph Black Building
G12 8QQ Glasgow
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 141 330 5843
Fax: +44 141 330 4642


Project ID QLRT-1999-31457
Organisation University of Glasgow
Area 5.1.2
Start date 01 December 2000
Duration (months) 42
Total cost 2 173 626 €
Total EC contribution   1 274 257 €
Status Completed
Web address of the project

The partners


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