Probiotic helps baby clownfish grow quicker

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Offering larval clownfishes a diet containing an added probiotic can help them develop faster and gain weight quicker, according to the results of a study by Italian researchers.

Experts from the Department of Marine Science at Universitá Politecnica delle Marche in Italy used a probiotic bacterial strain called Lactobacillus rhamnosus IMC 501 and offered it to larval Common clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris to note its effects.

Their results, which have just been published in the American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, claim that the larval clowns showed an a "twofold higher body weight in both clownfish larvae and juveniles when probiotics were supplied via live prey and added to the rearing water."

The authors said that the use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus IMC 501 also resulted in accelerated development, with metamorphosis occurring three days earlier than those without:

"Moreover, probiotic treatment lessened the severity of the general stress response as exhibited by lower levels of glucocorticoid receptor and 70-kDa heat shock protein gene expression.

"Furthermore, an improvement of skeletal head development was observed, with a 10-20% reduction in deformities for juveniles treated with probiotic.

"All data suggest a potent effect on development resulting from the administration of lactic acid bacteria to larval clownfish, and this study provides a preliminary molecular entry path into the investigation of mechanisms responsible for probiotic enhancement in fish development."

For more information see the paper: Avella MA, Olivotto I, Silvi S, Place AR, Carnevali O (2010) - Effect of dietary probiotics on clownfish: a molecular approach to define how lactic acid bacteria modulate development in a marine fish. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 Feb;298(2):R359-71.