Optimisation of the rearing diets for early life stages of the European lobster, Homarus gammarus, to enhance growth, survival and health using biotic dietary supplements.
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The series of experiments that comprises this thesis consider the use of prebiotics and probiotics to improve success in European lobster Homarus gammarus culture. Research was conducted at the National Lobster Hatchery and The University of Plymouth, UK between April 2007 and March 2010. Great potential was revealed for the application of biotics as dietary supplements in the culture of larval and juvenile H. gammarus. Specific biotics, namely; prebiotic mannon oligosaccharide (MOS) and probiotic Sanolife® (Bacillus spp.) were revealed to increase growth and survival during the culture of early lobster life stages. Lobsters that showed enhanced development and/or survival were found to possess improved feed conversion, immune status and/or stress tolerance. Furthermore it was found that biotic fed lobsters displayed shifts in gastrointestinal (GI) microbiology and enhanced physical GI structures, which may account for improved feed conversion and consequently growth. The work presented thus demonstrates that by making positive changes in GI structure and bacterial community composition combined with influencing immune status culture success can be positively enhanced through the biotic supplementation of diets. However, it must be considered that the outcome of dietary biotic supplementation is heavily influenced by the situation in question.
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