Modulatory effect of Gracilaria gracilis on European seabass gut microbiota community and its functionality

Scientific Reports volume

Ana Teresa Gonçalves, Marco Simões, Cátia Costa, Ricardo Passos & Teresa Baptista

Seaweeds are an important source of nutrients and bioactive compounds and have a high potential as health boosters in aquaculture. This study evaluated the effect of dietary inclusion of Gracilaria gracilis biomass or its extract on the European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) gut  microbial community. Juvenile fish were fed a commercial-like diet with 2.5% or 5% seaweed biomass or 0.35% seaweed extract for 47 days. The gut microbiome was assessed by 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, and its diversity was not altered by the seaweed supplementation. However, a reduction in Proteobacteria abundance was observed. Random forest analysis highlighted the genera PhotobacteriumStaphylococcusAcinetobacterMicrococcus  and Sphingomonas, and their abundances were reduced when fish were fed diets with algae. SparCC correlation network analysis suggested several mutualistic and other antagonistic relationships that could be related to the predicted altered functions. These pathways were mainly related to the metabolism and biosynthesis of protective compounds such as ectoine and were upregulated in fish fed diets supplemented with algae. This study shows the beneficial potential of Gracilaria as a functional ingredient through the modulation of the complex microbial network towards fish health improvement.

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