Owing to the problem of antibiotic resistance and subsequent reluctance of using antibiotics, the use of probiotics in larviculture is becoming increasingly popular. During the early stages of development, manipulation of the larval digestive system seems possible through the addition of probiotics either through the culture water or via the livefood. Well-studied probiotics used in human medicine and terrestrial agriculture have proved to be successful in aquaculture and therefore reduce the need for extensive biosafety trials. The selection of probiotics requires various in vitro screening experiments, which assay for the production of antagonist compounds, their growth in and attachment to fish intestinal mucus, and the production of other beneficial compounds such as vitamins, fatty acids and digestive enzymes. Further information regarding probiont suitability can be obtained from its identification, interaction with livefood and host pathogenicity. Finally, pilot-scale in vivo tests need be performed, after which a production cost-benefit analysis to determine its economic viability needs to be undertaken.
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