Worm eggs used to give antibiotic to fry

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Scientists have developed a new method for administering doses of antibiotics to the larvae of marine fish by feeding them polychaete eggs osmotically loaded with the drug.

Pantelis Kathariosa, Richard Smullena and Valerie Inglisa of the University of Stirling and Ridley Aqua Feed in Australia, osmotically loaded the eggs of the polychaete Ragworm, Nereis virens, with oxytetracycline (OTC) and used them as a vehicle for administering the drug to developing marine fish larvae.

Their paper, which is published in the January 2005 issue of the journal Aquaculture, explains how the eggs of the ragworm were osmotically loaded, and then examined to determine the level of antibiotic that had been taken up.

Each egg was found to contain over 1 ug of oxytetracycline, which the authors believe is sufficient to act as a therapeutic dose for marine fish larvae, where losses can sometimes be significant.

The team successfully used the oxytetracycline-loaded ragworm eggs to feed to Dover sole larvae and believe that the technique shows that Nereis eggs can effectively be used as drug biocarriers in aquaculture.

For more details see the paper: Pantelis Kathariosa, Richard Smullena and Valerie Inglisa (2005) - The use of the polychaete worm Nereis virens eggs as vehicle for the delivery of oxytetracycline in Solea solea larvae. Aquaculture

Volume 243, Issues 1-4 , 3 January 2005, Pages 1-7.