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Stimulation of the non-specific defence enhances the disease resistance and growth, and has good potentials as a measure for increased microbial control in juvenile production of marine fish and shellfish. So far, the most commonly used immunostimulants are β-(1 → 3, 1 → 6)-glucans, and in this study the stimulatory potential of a β-(1 → 3, 1 → 6)-glucan of marine origin, the storage polysaccharide from the marine diatom Chaetoceros mülleri, was examined. The glucan (chrysolaminaran) was extracted from cultures of C. mülleri, and used as a dietary supplement in two first feeding experiments with larvae of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua L. In one experiment the microalgal glucan was compared to the commercial yeast-glucan product MacroGard®, and in the other to an alginate with a high content of mannuronic acid (High-M alginate) isolated from Durvillaea antarctica. The stimulants were given via rotifers, and weaning to formulated feed was initiated at day 17 or 18 after hatching. The survival ± SEM at day 27 after hatching was 24.5 ± 2.0%, 14.8 ± 4.5% and 13.1 ± 1.4% for the groups fed C. mülleri-glucan, yeast glucan and for the control, respectively, in the first experiment. The group fed C. mülleri-glucan group had higher survival compared to the control (P < 0.05) group, whereas the yeast glucan had no positive effect on the survival (p > 0.05). The dry weights of the groups at day 27 were low, with 203.2 ± 52.2, 165.2 ± 43.4 and 198.5 ± 58.1 μg per larva for the C. mülleri-glucan, yeast glucan and control groups, respectively. In the second experiment the survival in the period of feeding formulated feed (days 18-30) were 44.6 ± 4.3%, 44.7 ± 1.3%, and 33.8 ± 4.1% survival for the C. mülleri-glucan, High-M alginate and control group, respectively. The cod larvae fed C. mülleri-glucan reached an average weight of 531.6 ± 17.2 μg at day 30, which was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the control group that had an average of 473.6 ± 3.5 μg. The larvae fed High-M alginate had an average weight of 470.3 ± 31.6 μg per larva at day 30, and not significantly different from the control (p > 0.05). The early weaning to formulated diet had detrimental effect on the growth of the larvae. In both experiments the C. mülleri-glucan group was the only group showing a positive growth rate in the period of weaning to dry feed. The microbial conditions in larval gut and water were monitored with respect to total colony forming units on Marine agar, and Vibrio- and Pseudomonas-like species on selective agars (TCBS and marine Pseudomonas Agar with CFC-supplement). The larvae were rapidly colonised after hatching, but no or weak effects of the stimulants were observed on the colonisation rates or the composition. The total CFU varied from 101 to 102 CFU per μg larva after initiation of the first feeding. The percentages of Pseudomonas-like bacteria increased throughout the period, whereas the levels of Vibrio-like bacteria were low and stable. The chrysolaminaran from the diatom C. mülleri was shown to be a promising candidate for use as an immunostimulatory feed additive, and which should be further explored. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Journal article



Publication Date





1088 - 1101