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Updated: Aug 31, 2021

Asian aquaculture sectors presently contribute about 90% to the global production to meet the increasing demands. It is a fastest growing sector thus the need to intensify culture systems. However in this culture, culture animals are subjected to stress conditions that weaken their immune system. Therefore, diseases control in aquaculture industry have gone a long way by following traditional methods that include synthetic chemicals and antibiotics.

During these past three decades, the wide use of antibiotics in aquaculture has resulted in serious biological and ecological concerns because of the emergence of antibiotic resistance due to mutation. The products are also difficult to be marketed internationally since the chemical compositions of antibiotics accumulate inside the culture animals. Therefore, as an alternative to antibiotics, the probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics are the most promising feed supplements for control or treatments of bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases of culture animals.

In aquaculture, probiotic is a microbial feed supplements which provide beneficial effects for the intestinal balance of the host animal. The strains of bacteria usually use in probiotics include Bacillus acidophilus, B. subtilis, Nitrobacter spp., Saccharomyces cerevisiae and many more. Every brand of probiotic has its own guidelines. Generally, the dosage will change throughout the culture cycle, with heavy applications in the beginning of day of culture (DOC) and during stressful situations such as when vibrio increases or water quality decreases. Feed probiotic contain some bacterial strains which can be blended together with feeding pellet or by administered orally to feed culture animals to help improving gut health. While, water probiotic are usually applied to reduce organic pollutants and various water contaminants thus improve water quality.

Figure 1. Make sure to dose probiotic based on provided guide from the manufacturer.

Other than that, the prebiotics considered as essential dietary supplement which enhance growth performance by increase good microbial activities, boost immune system and health performance. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredient that help to stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria in culture animals and they are consist of food ingredients which show resistance to gastric acid, hydrolysis by digestive enzyme and fermentation of gastrointestinal microbiome. It also able to selectively stimulating the growth abundance of bacteria in the colon and thus improves intestinal health. Prebiotic become new strategies to replace antibiotic and is well-known to be as non-specific immune response enhancer which can modify microbes of gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Figure 2. A prebiotic product use here in the farm to improve shrimp health

Besides that, synbiotic is another compound which combine the probiotic and prebiotic product. It serves as important part in improving gut health of culture animals. Since gastrointestinal bacteria plays the major role in affecting the nutrient uptake and health of culture animals. Therefore, altering the intestinal microflora by increasing resistance to pathogen, enhance growth and stimulation of immune response of culture animals can be achieved by applied the combination of both products through synbiotic approach.


In these recent years, application of probiotic, prebiotic and synbiotic have become important practices in aquaculture. But which one of these are better or every each of these contribute to better farming? Probiotic helps in feed conversion, growth rates, immunity and disease resistance. On the other hand, prebiotic improve gastrointestinal microflora thus help in nutrient and growth of culture animals. Synbiotic that combined of both application improve the survivability and microbial activity in GI tract. The use of synbiotics can confirm the greater benefits than individual application (probiotic or prebiotic). But to deal with specific problems in culturing animal, the individual application will be great too. Therefore, it is up to farmers to decide on which is better.

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