Dietary phytoimmunostimulant Persian hogweed (Heracleum persicum) has more remarkable impacts on skin mucus than on serum in common carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Seyed Hossein Hoseinifar, Fazel Zoheiri, Carlo C. Lazado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Immunostimulation through the use of sustainable and eco-friendly dietary additives is one of the current prophylactic strategies in fish husbandry. Plant-based immunostimulants are highly considered for this intent, both for their scientific and practical advantages. Persian hogweed (Heracleum persicum) is a flower-bearing herb that possesses interesting pharmacological importance due to its bioactive compounds. It is commonly used as spice, food additive, dietary supplement and traditional remedy. The present study evaluated the potential of H. persicum as a dietary phytoimmunostimulant in common carp (Cyprinus carpio). The powder form of H. persicum was incorporated in the basal diet at three different inclusion levels: 2.5, 5 and 10 g kg−1. The basal diet (0 g kg−1 of H. persicum) served as control. Experimental diets were administered to the fish for a period of 8 weeks. At the termination of the feeding experiment, impacts on fish immunity and performance were evaluated. Inclusion of H. persicum in the diet significantly elevated several immunological factors such as immunoglobulins, lysozyme, protease and alternative complement activities in carp. Interestingly, the changes were more pronounced in the skin mucus than in the serum. Performance was significantly improved in the fish groups that received the candidate phytoimmunostimulant. Specifically, final weight, weight gain, specific growth rate and feed conversion ratio were significantly improved in the fish that received dietary H. persicum at inclusion levels 5 g kg−1 and higher. This study demonstrated the potential of Persian hogweed as a candidate dietary phytoimmunostimulant in carp, impacting mainly the skin mucosal defenses. The study supports the current trend in the exploration of sustainable plant-based dietary supplements that are capable of boosting the immunological defenses of farmed fish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquaculture
  • Fish health
  • Immunostimulant
  • Mucosal immunity
  • Persian hogweed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science


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