March | April 2014 The role of prebiotics in pangasius production

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The role of prebiotics in pangasius production
by Dr Serge Corneillie, general manager, Alltech Japan - Email: scorneillie@alltech.com

n India, the steady growth in freshwater aquaculture is led by the recent production of the Pangasius catfish. In fact, Andhra Pradesh, the fifth largest state in the country, is now know as the “Fish Bowl” of India for its rich production of pangasius. Catfish production is the fastest growing fish farming in the country’s aquaculture sector; however it appears as the higher the production increases, the higher the risk for disease outbreak among the species. Under intensive production methods and poor culture management, fish are exposed to stressful conditions leading to growth reduction and higher susceptibility to various diseases. Red disease often occurs during the change from the dry to rainy season and during the flood season. Signs of Red disease include the fraying and reddening of fins, and irregular, variably sized areas of de-pigmentation and red pigmentation that can develop anywhere on the body surface, leading to open sores and ulcers. Infections can occur in any age, but losses tend to be most severe in fry and small fingerlings. Pseudomonas fluorescens, thought to be the causative agent of the Red disease, or Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septiciemia disease of pondcultured fish, is considered a primary pathogen of freshwater and opportunistic pathogen for different fish species grown in marine and brackish waters worldwide. Clinical symptoms of the bacteria include darkening of the skin and hemorrhage in skins and the fins. According to a study conducted by the Department of Aquaculture, Bangladesh


Table A: The length growth of catfish fry Treatment Initial lengtj (cm) Final length (cm) Length gain (cm) DLG (cm/day) SGR (%/day) T1 0.6±0.02a 4.24±0.91a 3.83±0.87a 0.13±0.03a 6.70±0.76a T2 0.6±0.02a 4.39±0.99ab 3.97±0.90ab 0.13±0.03a 6.81±0.66ab T3 0.6±0.02a 4.99±1.22b 4.74±1.26b 0.16±0.04b 7.30±0.87b T4 0.6±0.02a 5.63±1.25c 5.46±1.43c 0.18±0.05c 7.72±0.86c

Table 1: Culture parameters in trial ponds. Ponds Stocking numbers Area (ha) Stocking Density (No/m2) Initial average body weight (g) 135 80 213 256 194 201 Days of culture (DOC)

T1 T2 T3 C1 C2 C3

46,600 25,000 38,450 69,752 69,993 76,251

2 0.8 1.4 2.2 2.2 2.2

2.33 3.13 2.8 3.1 3.1 3.5

38 38 37 30 30 28

aActigen™ at 1kg/tonne (applied along with premix in floating feed) bAntibiotic treatment. One at start of trial 4/10/2009 + following treatments at disease outbreak.

Note: As this is a field trial, we were limited in controlling some parameters such as initial weight and days of culture.

Agricultural University (Faruk, Md. A.R. 2008), the most prevalent symptoms of the Red disease in pangasius hypophthalmus, are red spot, followed by anal protusion, tail and fin rot, pop eye, dropsy and gill rot. The 100 fish farmers interviewed also reported other conditions like cotton wool type lesion, ulceration and white spot, but at lower rates. Economic losses were estimated
10 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | March-April 2014

to be 3.6 percent of the farmers’ total yearly income in fish production due to ill-health. The successful control of disease in aquaculture requires a multifaceted approach, whereby better management practices are combined with the use of specially selected fish stock and adequate nutrition to improve overall fish health. In intensive culture systems, improvement


of natural health and immunity in fish is dependent on proper nutrition. From a commercial perspective, mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) have been used in aqua diets for almost 20 years. The return on investment, based on increased performance and improvement in efficiency, has been demonstrated in countless academic and commercial trials. The major source of these functional carbohydrates is the cell wall fraction of bakers’ and brewers’ yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Recently, new data has become available on a second-generation, purified and more bioactive fraction derived from a selected strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This natural

Mannan Rich Fraction of carbohydrate (MRF) has been shown to block unfavorable organisms from the gut. This carbohydrate supports nutrient utilisation, maintains digestive function and enzyme activity, controls inflammation and reduces the gap between ideal and actual performance. These mechanisms have been confirmed using nutrigenomic data. (Note: The compound is commercially available as ActigenTM (Alltech Inc) which is a bioactive fraction derived from yeast cell wall and has shown favorable results on growth performance and health status of the pangasius catfish.) Indirectly, recent studies have illustrated the potential to reduce cost of antibiotic

inputs in aquaculture through the improvement of gut health and nutrient absorption and ultimately a healthy immune status of the fish.

Gut health and immunity
The gastrointestinal tract is a prominent part of the immune system. Microorganisms are kept at bay by an extensive immune system comprising gutassociated lymphoid tissue (GALT). In terrestrial animals including humans, the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract plays an important role in affecting nutrition, health of the host and in the balancing beneficial and harmful bacteria. A ratio of 80 percent

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March-April 2014 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | 11

FEATURE However, is this really possible? The answer is yes, through the promotion of early gut development with nucleic acids, organic trace minerals as well as ‘feeding the gut’ to maintain intestinal health.

Recent research
A recent study in Vietnam examined how to improve the survival rate of striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) fingerlings by adding rotifers and Actigen. The trial, conducted from June 10 to September 20, 2012, focused on three diets containing 0.04% Actigen (2nd treatment), 0.08% Actigen (3rd treatment) and 0.12% Actigen (4th treatment) and one diet without containing Actigen (1st treatment) were evaluated. Rotifers and Actigen addition had positive results in improving survival rate as well as in stimulating growth rate of catfish fingerlings. The survival rate of the fish in the fourth treatment improved approximately 34 percent comparing to that in the first treatment. The more concentration of Actigen was added, the higher survival rate of fish achieved. Therefore, the average survival rate of the catfish fingerlings increased from the first treatment (8.31%), the second treatment (9.36%), the third treatment (10.13%) and the fourth treatment (11.16%) (see figure 4.1). The growth rate of fish also increased when increasing Actigen concentration added. The average length and weight of fish at the 30th day in 1st treatment was 4.24cm and 0.77g, 4.39cm and 0.82g for fish in 2nd treatment, 4.99cm and 0.93g for fish in 3rd treatment, 5.63cm and 1.08g for fish in 4th treatment (see figure 4.6). In another study in India, researchers looked at the immune competence of Pangasius hypophthalmus when subjected to the prebiotic during grow-out in ponds. This was conducted in a farm located in Losari, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India. The farm contained 30 ponds of which 20 suffered from higher than normal outbreaks of disease (see Table 1). Figure 2: Survival rate of catfish fry

Figure 1. Growth performance of pangasius catfish over three months The farm was applying antibiotics (Enrofloxacin @ 15g/tonne of fish biomass) to treat disease. As disease outbreaks became more frequent, the farmer faced losses from heavy mortalities and increasing costs of treatments. Researchers selected three ponds as treatment ponds (T1, T2, T3) and three control ponds (C1, C2, C3), where the standard procedure of using antibiotics was continued. During the three-month trial, weekly sampling by weighing 100 fish was carried out. Data recorded included growth rate and fish mortality (see Table 2 and Figure 1). The diets used were a standard balanced floating feed. The treatment diet contained the prebiotic at 1kg/tonne of feed. Fish in the control ponds were fed the standard balanced floating feed with antibiotic treatments added at 5g/tonne of fish biomass for five days in each application. The researchers concluded that the addition of the prebiotic helped in reducing the mortalities and dependence on the antibiotics and also ensured better returns for the farmer. Based on the above field observations they concluded that, the use of the prebiotic in the extruded feeds will enhance the complete utilization of feed, thereby leading to less excretion (less pollution) and higher profitability for the farmer.

beneficial to 20 percent harmful bacteria is considered normal. The bacteria in the water surrounding the fish are continuously ingested either with the feed or when the host is drinking, causing a natural interaction between the microbiota of the ambient environment and the gut environment. If the bacterial challenge exceeds a certain level, the health of the animal is in danger, as the animal alone cannot defend itself sufficiently. The potential for reducing stress and enhancing immunity and disease resistance by nutritional feed additives and functional feed materials has been demonstrated in warmblooded animals. However, very little work in this area has been conducted in aquaculture. Thus, the effects of nutrition and feeding strategies need to be assessed to develop economically viable feeds and feeding practices to optimize growth, improve stress resistance, immune response and disease resistance and improve the product quality of aquaculture species.

Table 2: Summary of production parameters and inputs used Ponds ABW (g) Initial ABW (g) final Biomass Increase (g) 335 367 426 590 416 512 Feed Used (tonne) Actigen used (kg) Antibiotic used (g) Mortality (number)

Often it has been hypothesized that fish invest more energy in immunity than in other physiological functions. Moreover, seasonality is thought to act as an important factor in determining the levels of fish physiology and immunological activity. However, the inclusion of certain immune enhancers can help fish to improve their immune status and spend less energy on those defense mechanisms leading to lower inputs for treating fish.

T1 T2 T3 C1 C2 C3

135 80 213 256 194 201

470 447 639 846 610 713

28.01 16.52 29.48 61.73 52.41 62.47

28.01 16.52 29.48 -

6.97 6.99 7.62

7 350 500 275

12 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | March-April 2014




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March-April 2014 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | 13

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