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Franke, Andrea; Clemmesen, Catriona; De Schryver, Peter; Garcia-Gonzalez, Linsey; Miest, Joanna; Roth, Olivia (2017): Gene expression, growth and survival of European sea bass post-larvae (Dicentrarchus labrax) after PHB administration. PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Franke, A et al. (2017): Immunostimulatory effects of dietary poly-ß-hydroxybutyrate in European sea bass postlarvae. Aquaculture Research,

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The stable production of high quality fry in marine aquaculture is still hampered by unpredictable mortality caused by infectious diseases during larval rearing. Consequently, the development of new biocontrol agents is crucial for a viable aquaculture industry. The bacterial energy storage compound poly-ß-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) has been shown to exhibit beneficial properties on aquatic organisms such as enhanced survival, growth, disease resistance and a controlling effect on the gastrointestinal microbiota. However, the effect of PHB on the developing immune system of fish larvae has so far not been investigated. In the present study, the effect of feeding PHB-enriched Artemia nauplii on survival, growth and immune response in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) post-larvae was examined. Amorphous PHB was administered to 28 days old sea bass larvae over a period of 10 days. The survival and growth performance were monitored and the expression of 29 genes involved in immunity, growth, metabolism and stress-response was measured. While the expression of the insulin-like growth factor 1 (igf1), an indicator of relative growth, was upregulated in response to feeding PHB, the larval survival and growth performance remained unaffected. After 10 days of PHB treatment, the expression of the antimicrobial peptides dicentracin (dic) and hepcidin (hep) as well as mhc class IIa and mhc class IIb was elevated in the PHB fed larvae. This indicates that PHB is capable of stimulating the immune system of fish early life stages, which may be the cause of the increased resistance to diseases and robustness observed in previous studies.
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