Probiotics as beneficial microbes in aquaculture: an update on their multiple modes of action: a review

Mohammad Jalil Zorriehzahra, Somayeh Torabi Delshad, Milad Adel, Ruchi Tiwari, K. Karthik, Kuldeep Dhama, Carlo C. Lazado

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


Wide and discriminate use of antibiotics has resulted in serious biological and ecological concerns, especially the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Probiotics, known as beneficial microbes, are being proposed as an effective and eco-friendly alternative to antibiotics. They were first applied in aquaculture species more than three decades ago, but considerable attention had been given only in the early 2000s. Probiotics are defined as live or dead, or even a component of the microorganisms that act under different modes of action in conferring beneficial effects to the host or to its environment. Several probiotics have been characterized and applied in fish and a number of them are of host origin. Unlike some disease control alternatives being adapted and proposed in aquaculture where actions are unilateral, the immense potential of probiotics lies on their multiple mechanisms in conferring benefits to the host fish and the rearing environment. The staggering number of probiotics papers in aquaculture highlights the multitude of advantages from these microorganisms and conspicuously position them in the dynamic search for health-promoting alternatives for cultured fish. This paper provides an update on the use of probiotics in finfish aquaculture, particularly focusing on their modes of action. It explores the contemporary understanding of their spatial and nutritional competitiveness, inhibitory metabolites, environmental modification capability, immunomodulatory potential and stress-alleviating mechanism. This timely update affirms the importance of probiotics in fostering sustainable approaches in aquaculture and provides avenues in furthering its research and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-241
Number of pages14
JournalVeterinary Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • aquaculture
  • fish and shellfish diseases
  • probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Veterinary (all)


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