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Probiotics to Increase Shellfish...
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA96FD0280

REPORT TITLE: Probiotics to Increase Shellfish Hatchery Production

AUTHOR:  Pacific Shellfish Institute

PUBLISH DATE:  December 2002

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of the project was to identify and test the approach of using probiotic bacteria to prevent bacterial diseases in shellfish hatcheries. The laboratory validation of the beneficial effect of specific probiotic bacterial species was the goal of this project and consisted of three objectives: (1) identify and quantify probiotic activity of candidate species of bacteria, (2) confirm identity of the bacterial species and (3) conduct laboratory tests of probiotic effectiveness to prevent bacterial disease in shellfish larvae and seed. We characterized both laboratory archived bacterial strains as well as 24 new isolates for probiotic activity. Significant probiotic activity was found. The identity of bacterial isolates and a portion of the bacterial pathogenicity testing for the project was performed as a University of Washington Masterís thesis research project conducted by Ms. Robyn Estes (Estes 2002). This thesis work consisted of characterization of 109 bacterial isolates, pathogenicity testing of a selection of the isolates and phenotypic and phylogenetic analysis of larval oyster pathogens and related bacterial cultures. The 16s rDNA of eight strains of bacteria was cloned and sequenced in order to evaluate the phylogenetic relationship between these strains and known and described species of bacteria.

To complete objective three of the project, three highly pathogenic isolates were confirmed and selected for both in vitro and in vivo evaluation and for challenging larval Pacific oysters and geoduck clams with and without probiotics. Several of the strong probiotic producers were pathogenic to the shellfish larvae and others exhibited very slow growth rates. Nonetheless, we identified one probiotic candidate that provided partial but significant protection to larval oysters and clams challenged with pathogenic bacteria. We also isolated additional useful strains of non-pathogenic and rapidly growing bacteria with probiotic activity (in vitro) near the end of this project but did not have resources to test these for their ability to protect larval or juvenile shellfish from bacterial challenge. The results indicate that successful probiotic candidates must be non-pathogenic and rapidly proliferating in order to exclude pathogens from larval cultures.

 
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