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New probiotic bacteria shows promise for use in shellfish aquaculture

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The use of probiotic bacteria, isolated from naturally-occurring bacterial communities, is gaining in popularity in the aquaculture industry as the preferred, environmentally-friendly management alternative to the use of antibiotics and other antimicrobials for disease prevention. Known to the public for their use in yogurt and other foods to improve human digestion and health, probiotic bacteria isolated from other sources can also be used to improve survival, nutrition and disease prevention in larvae grown in shellfish hatcheries.

Researchers at NOAA's Milford Laboratory in Milford, Conn. have shown that naturally-occurring bacteria isolated from the digestive glands of adult eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and northern bay scallops (Argopecten irradians irradians) may be used as potential probiotic candidates in oyster larviculture.

Two related research studies published in the Journal of Shellfish Research identify a new probiotic bacterium, designated OY15, which has been shown to significantly improve larval survival in pilot-scale trials during the first two weeks of life, the most critical stage for the organism when mortality rates are among the highest.

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