Evaluation of probioticBacillus aeriusB81e isolated from healthy hybrid catfish on growth, disease resistance and innate immunity of Pla-mongPangasius bocourti
Infectious diseases have been found to be a major cause of mortality in fish hatcheries. Probiotics have been introduced to replace antibiotics commonly used for treatment of bacterial infection in aquaculture. This study was conducted to isolate, screen, and evaluate the probiotic Bacillus spp. for potential use as a feed supplement to enhance fish growth, disease resistance and innate immunity of Pla-mong Pangasius bocourti. Bacillus aerius strain B81e was selectively isolated from the intestine of healthy catfish and chosen based on its probiotic properties both in vitro and in vivo. This bacterium produced a bacteriocin-like substance and exhibited a broad-spectrum antibacterial activity inhibiting both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria especially the fish pathogens Aeromonas hydrophila and Streptococcus agalactiae. The susceptibility to all 8 antibiotics tested implies that it is unlikely to be an antibiotic-resistant bacterium. B. aerius strain B81e possessed interesting adhesion properties as shown by its high percentages of hydrophobicity, auto-aggregation, co-aggregation with fish pathogens A. hydrophila FW52 and S. agalactiae F3S and mucin binding. The strain B81e survived simulated gastrointestinal conditions, producing protease and lipase but not β-haemolysin. The study also evaluated the effects of dietary supplementation with strain B81e on growth performance, innate immunity, and the disease resistance of P. bocourti against A. hydrophila infection. Fish with a mean body weight of 69 g were fed strain B81e at 0 (control) and 107 CFU g−1 feed (test) for 60 days. Various growth and immune parameters were examined at 30 and 60 days post-feeding. Fish were challenged with A. hydrophila 60 days post-feeding and mortalities were recorded over 14 days post-infection. Results showed that the administration of strain B81e for 60 days had significant effects (p < 0.05) on weight gain, specific growth rate and feed utilization efficiency of P. bocourti. Dietary administration of strain B81e increased the serum lysozyme and bactericidal activities of P. bocourti significantly throughout the experimental period whereas the alternative complement, phagocytic and respiratory burst activities were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in the test fish compared to the control fish after 60 days of feeding. In addition, the fish fed a strain B81e supplemented diet had a significantly higher (p < 0.05) post-challenge survival rate than the control fish. The results in this study indicate that B. aerius B81e has beneficial effects on growth performance, innate immunity and disease resistance of P. bocourti. This is the first report on the probiotic roles of B. aerius in aquaculture.