Wednesday, July 1, 2015

01/07/2015: Microscopic life aquatic - improving animal performance
by Barbara Weber, Microbiologist Responsible for Aqua-related Activities, Biomin

First published in International Aquafeed, May-June 2015

The main task of our microbiology research team is to analyze and develop new, innovative microbial feed additives for different livestock species to improve animal performance and health.

Through years of research we have gained sound expertise in the development of multispecies or multi-strain combinations of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics. 

These additives offer a good alternative to antibiotics or other treatments without the apparent associated drawbacks.

Over time we have established a large strain collection with plenty well-characterised probiotic strains, as well as a plethora of livestock-specific and livestock-relevant pathogens. The ultimate goal is to find strains that complement each other in their unique actions.

In our research we combine techniques from classical microbiology with modern state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques to identify the best suitable probiotic strains for a distinct purpose.

To obtain a safe and acceptable biological feed supplement, the development process covers all steps from in vitro (isolation, identification, safety evaluation, characterization and assessment for specific properties) to in vivo (alterations in host gene expression or microbial composition in the gut).

For aquaculture probiotics we focus on two different applications: 1) feed application to improve animal health via gut health and 2) pond application to improve water quality and indirectly aid animal health.
Image: kaibara87

For both applications, stability of probiotic strains under changing environmental conditions is a prerequisite.

Thus, our in vitro work includes tests for pH, salt, bile, temperature tolerance and combinations thereof.

For feed application the main goal is to identify strains that antagonize a broad spectrum of different pathogens.

Antagonism would ideally occur not only through classical mechanisms, such as bacteriocin or acid production, but also through alternative mechanisms, such as quorum quenching, that can reduce a pathogen’s virulence.

For pond application the main goal is to identify strains able to maintain water quality. To do so they need to efficiently degrade organic matter and/or remove toxic waste compounds, such as nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, or hydrogen sulfide. 

In the laboratory we have several colorimetric test systems available to define how these strains perform in vitro, especially concerning removal of nitrogen compounds.

Read the magazine HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

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