February 27, 2020
Israeli study explores possibility of aquaculture in harsh environments
Research identifies fish's core microbiomes tosupport aquaculture activities in harsh climates and increase their productivity, reported The Jerusalem Post.
The study was led by Professor Itzhak Mizrahi, Ben-Gurion Universitytogether with the Agricultural Research Organization and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem to research the possibility of practising aquaculture in unsuitable environments.
The research, which was published in "Nature Microbiology" identified fish's core microbiome's functionality, which is related to the animals' liveability.
Mizrahi said microbiome lives in the gut environment and interact with their hosts, be it fish or humans. The fish's microbiomes in their gut affect the fish's capability to survive a changing environment.
The study also explored how microbiomes are maintained inside its hosts persistently, an unanswered question even for humans.
Mizrahi said they discovered eight microbiomes in two fish species and in others too. Next, the team investigated the specific features that allow the microbiomes to persevere in several species. The study found that the microbiomes are more genetically viable and facilitate each other.
According to Mizrahi, each microbiome consumes a different portion of the fish's diet, producing chemicals that cross-feed between one another. This allows the microbiomes to survive under specific conditions.
He said the findings result means that microbiome communities can be developed to support the fish's liveability in harsh environments, especially as they not adapt well as fish cannot control its body temperature. Previous studies believed that a fish's temperature is maintained by microbiomes.
He said the study not only found that it is possibly to support aquaculture and boost productivity but be able to combat global warming challenges.
The subject of the study was tilapia (common aquaculture grown species) and European bass, that come from the Mediterranean. BGU data reported that 60% of all fish consumed will come from aquaculture by 2030.
Mizrahi said the outcome of this research would be the development of a synthetical microbiome for aquaculture. For its next steps, the study will look at engineering the microbiomes or its composition to support a fish's features such as faster swimming or better survivability in different environments.
- The Jerusalem Post